BEIRUT: Following the uproar in the wake of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspending Wings of Lebanon's EU license for a lack of "compliance with the applicable requirements" of the European agency's standards, the private airline issued a statement Wednesday blaming the discrepancies on "the tight timeframe" afforded to it to address the numerous violations.
EASA suspended Wings of Lebanon's Third Country Operator (TCO) Authorization on June 14 for "seven level (1) findings and nine level (2) findings," concluding that the charter airline failed to "ensure that all of its aircraft and flights operated under their TCO Authorization."
The airline was given six days to implement "immediate mitigating measures and corrective action plans," but were "considered insufficient" by the European civil aviation agency.
Instead, EASA reclassified two of the level (2) findings to level (1) findings, which pertain to the "Minimum Equipment List and Approved Maintenance Programme," given that Wings of Lebanon "did not propose a corrective action plan but offered additional explanations."
The statement released by Wings of Lebanon maintains that it possesses since 2007 the "Air Operator Certificate by the Lebanese Directorate General of Civil Aviation," while arguing that it "underwent a check by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) some time ago," which showed that everything was in order.
Yet, the letter sent to Wings of Lebanon by EASA clearly states that the airline failed to address the "Maintance of Aircraft" violation, given that the "operator did not provide all maintance records requested for review by EASA in the ambit of assessing compliance with applicable ICAO Standards."
The letter also states that the "Approved Maintanace Program" vioaltion, which was upped to a level (1) finding, "is not in compliance with corresponding ICAO Standards."
Wings of Lebanon's TCO Authorization is now suspended for a maximum period of six months before possibly being revoked if it fails to implement "successful corrective actions." The airline can submit its appeal within two months.
The TCO Authorization is required for any third-country operator intending to perform commercial air transport operations into, within, or out of the 28 member states of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, as well as Gibraltar, Åland Islands, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Martin, Mayotte.
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