The European directive to suspend all Boeing 737 Max operations in Europe is unlikely to affect Cyprus, the civil aviation department told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) on Wednesday.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced the directive following the crash of Ethiopian airlines flight 302 shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa on Sunday killing all 157 people on board. The crash happened less than five months after a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 went down in Indonesia in October, killing all 157 people in the plane.
In addition, EASA published a safety directive suspending all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the Boeing 737 models.
Cyprus suspended flight operations of all Boeing Model 737-8 Max and 737-9 Max airplanes inside its airspace on Tuesday complying with the EU-wide suspension.
Andreas Paspalides, head of the Safety Regulation Unit at Civil Aviation, said the companies which have such aircraft can carry travellers to Cyprus on different planes. “No negative impact on Cyprus is expected,” he said.
No such airplanes are included in the Cypriot register, Paspalides added.
He said Cyprus is complying with the EASA directive until further notice.
Meanwhile, Christos Petrou, head of the Mediterranean flight safety foundation, urged European institutions to show the same sensitivity concerning aviation safety in the northern part of Nicosia’s flight information region (FIR) as they have with the issue of the Boeing 737-8 crash.
Petrou said Europe’s sensitivity to flight safety issues even when they do not know it is actually a technical problem, should also encompass the safety risks in the northern part of the Nicosia FIR where there are “tangible examples of these risks which Eurocontrol, the ICAO [the International Civil Aviation Organisation], EASA and the European Commission acknowledge and include in their reports.”
He said that at the very least they should have helped restore communication between the tower controls of Ankara and Nicosia which is the main reason for these dangers.
Since the European institutions are not doing this, the state should have had a complete strategy to tackle the issue.
“We are ready to prepare such a strategy, without charge. We have the expertise and technical know-how to do it, they only have to ask for it,” he said.
But he was quick to reassure passengers that the airplane was the safest mode of transport.
Hundreds of flights operate daily, with millions of passengers. On the day of the crash, another 120,000 flights took place throughout the world carrying several million people safely. The likelihood of an accident is one in 1.5 million.
“We want to emphasise this. People may be shocked by these accidents but bear in mind that billions of flights are taking place with billions of passengers and the risks are very small.”
He called on people to wait for the result of the investigation into the cause of the accident, noting that many factors may be responsible.