Greece finds itself in the middle of a pefect storm – economy down, tourism down

Greece has long been one of the black sheep members of the European Union – it has always relied on huge farming subsidies as its fellow nations worried about the stability of the Greek economy.

This year, those stability worries became justified when their economy collapsed. A combination of poor financial decisions and the global economic meltdown forced the Greek government to turn to its fellow countries for a bailout.

Now the European Union has finally decided to bail the Greek out, sentiment about the scope of the bailout has left Europeans mighty annoyed with the Greek. So annoyed in fact, that many of them have decided to book their vacation elsewhere – removing one of the largest sources of Greek income.

German airline Air Berlin has described the drops as “massive”, but did not have any firm numbers to report on. Germany and the UK account for about 5 million tourists each year – a third of the 15 million that visit Greece each year. In 2009, tourism had already dropped 8%, so a continuing drop may prove to be a national disaster for Greece – especially since they’ll need to dig themselves out of their $400 billion debt pile sooner or later.

European Union proposes global airline black list after Yemen crash

For several years, the European Union has been maintaining an airline black list. The list contains the bottom of the barrel in the aviation world. On it, you won’t find any of the big global carriers, but it is very well represented by countries like Kazakhstan, Angola and the Democratic republic of Congo.

As it turns out, the airline involved in the most recent crash had once been on the black list for incomplete reporting on its fleet inspections.

That crash has now prompted the E.U. transport commissioner, Antonio Tajani to propose turning the the European black list in to a global black list.

As much as I like the idea of sharing this kind of information and turning it into a global list, I’m not sure it will actually make any difference – for a global black list to work, every country in the world will have to participate. Thing is, the kind of country that does not take aviation safety that seriously, is not going to be the kind of country that signs up for the black list, only to ground its own national carrier(s).

A global black list of carriers won’t do anything to prevent any of the recent air disasters we’ve seen – Air France would certainly not deserve a spot on the list, nor would Continental/Air Colgan (involved in the Buffalo crash back in February).

Many of these rickety airlines fly within their own country, or to neighboring countries with similar lax oversight. For a global aviation black list to work, countries should help each other, not simply tell them that they are not welcome to land at their airports. I’m pretty sure that “Sky Gate International” from the Kyrgyz Republic won’t give a damn if the USA tells them to stay away from any of their airports.

The only other option is to increase passenger awareness and get the list promoted, to help people make an informed decision about whether or not to travel with an unsafe carrier. But if that airline is their only option, I’m guessing they’ll take the risk.
The top countries by number of their airlines included in the list:

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo (57 airlines!)
  2. Republic of Indonesia (51 airlines)
  3. Republic of Angola (18 airlines)
  4. Kyrgyz Republic (17 airlines)
  5. Equatorial Guinea (9 airlines)
  6. Sierra Leone (8 airlines)
  7. Republic of Benin (8 airlines)
  8. Swaziland (7 airlines)
  9. Republic of Gabon (7 airlines)
  10. Republic of Kazakhstan (7 airlines)

Some noteworthy airlines (mainly because of their silly sounding names):

  1. Helimalongo – Republic of Angola
  2. Alafia Jet – Republic of Benin
  3. Golden Rules Airlines – Kyrgyz Republic
  4. Motor Sikh – Ukraine
  5. Dames – Kyrgyz Republic

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Photo of the Day (6/13/07)

Europa Latina
For a photo drive-by shooting I’d say this one out of Lisboa is pretty fun, funky and fresh. I can’t tell if the person seen is power walking or on a light jog around the town, but I’d love to be in their sneakers. Doesn’t a stroll through Lisboa sound nice? Nice work t3mujin and thanks for tucking this one into the Gadling Flickr pool.