§ John Thurso
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) which airlines are banned from the airspace of(a) the United Kingdom and (b) each EU country for which information is available; 
(2) if he will make a statement on the availability of information to passengers travelling to and from the United Kingdom relating to airlines which are banned from the airspace of (a) the United Kingdom, (b) other European countries and (c) other countries. 
§ Mr. McNulty
I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 8 January, given to the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire)Official Report, column 429W.
International civil aviation is governed by the Chicago Convention. Under the Convention the International Civil Aviation Organisation is responsible for establishing minimum safety standards. Contracting States are required to recognise the certificates of other Contracting States unless they have reason to believe that they have not been issued in accordance with ICAO standards. ICAO also audits Contracting States' aviation authorities to help identify and address any deficiencies in the implementation of international standards.
Any airline from outside the EU or EEA which wishes to pick up or put down passengers or cargo in the UK requires a permit from the Secretary of State. It is a condition of the permit that the airline should be operated in accordance with international safety standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Permits may be refused, suspended or revoked if the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to do so, taking into account any relevant information available to him, including the outcome of inspections of aircraft carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority at the request of the Department. We have now placed on the Department's web site information about UK permit action as set out in my answer of 8 January, which includes the reasons for and duration of such action. This information will be updated as appropriate.546W
We are not able to publish similar information with respect to permit action by other countries. Our inspections of foreign airlines are carried out in accordance with a procedure established under the European Civil Aviation Conference's Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft Programme, soon to be enshrined in European Community law. The results of inspections are entered on a central database and may be accessed by all ECAC States on the strict understanding that their use will be restricted to State organisations. The database includes information on some permit action by Member States, but what constitutes permit action varies from State to State. Some States include short restrictions on the use of an individual aircraft which may have been lifted before the report of the inspection reaches the database. The database cannot therefore be used to determine whether an airline currently has restrictions on its operations to an ECAC state. We are urgently considering with our ECAC colleagues how we can extend and refine the information on the database and whether it is possible for further information to be made public.