Twenty-one airlines licensed in Russia have been blacklisted by the European Union over safety concerns.

The EU’s air safety blacklist, updated on April 11, includes companies that are not allowed to operate in the EU because they do not meet international safety standards, the European Union said in a news release.

“The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency has allowed Russian airlines to operate hundreds of foreign-owned aircraft without a valid certificate of airworthiness,” Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said in a statement.

“The Russian airlines concerned have knowingly done so in breach of relevant international safety standards. This…poses an immediate safety threat,” she said.

The EU blacklist includes all major Russian air carriers, including Aeroflot. (file photo)
The EU blacklist includes all major Russian air carriers, including Aeroflot.

The EU list includes all major Russian air carriers, including Aeroflot, Pobeda, S7, Rossiya, UTair, and Ural Airlines.

EU airspace is already closed to almost all Russian aircraft under sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Valean said the decision was not another sanction against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine but a measure taken on the basis of technical and safety grounds.

The commission said that, after the addition of the 21 Russian airlines, the EU blacklist of carriers banned from EU skies now contained 117 companies. The list includes airlines from Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Sudan.

Part of the EU sanctions against Russia prohibits the sale of spare parts and equipment for Russian airlines. According to EU data, three quarters of Russian commercial aircraft are built in the European Union, the United States, and Canada.