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EU expected to relax ban on N. Korean carrier Air Koryo

All Headlines 10:23 March 25, 2010

BRUSSELS, March 25 (Yonhap) -- The European Union is expected to relax its four-year ban on the North Korean state carrier, Air Koyro, from all operations in its member states, a source at the European Commission said Wednesday.

Air Koryo has been on the EU's blacklist of airlines failing to meet international safety standards since the list was first put together in 2006. Currently, five individual carriers, including Air Koryo, and all carriers from 15 countries -- 228 companies in total -- are on the blacklist.

The EU's Air Safety Commission met last week to review the list and recommended that the restrictions on the North Korean airline be relaxed to "Annex B," which means that the carrier can operate in the region under "specific conditions," the source said.

Air Koryo officials attended last week's meeting to brief the commission on the safety measures they have taken so far, the source said. It was unclear what conditions would be imposed for Air Koyro if the ban is relaxed.

The Air Safety Commission is an advisory panel without decision-making power, but its recommendations are usually reflected when the blacklist is updated. The list is revised three times a year, with this year's first update slated for late this month.

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