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European Union lifts safety ban on Philippine Airlines

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(MANILA) - The European Union has lifted a three-year ban on Philippine Airlines flying into its airspace after the national carrier addressed safety concerns, the EU's ambassador to Manila said Wednesday.

PAL will be allowed to fly into the 28-member bloc from Friday, which will spur tourism and business links, ambassador Guy Ledoux said.

"There is consistent evidence that direct air connections between countries have a positive impact on business relations. EU-Philippines trade and investment relations will benefit from the lifting of the air ban," Ledoux said.

Ledoux said the safety ban on other Philippine carriers may also be lifted amid a general improvement in the country's aviation standards and positive work by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

"The European Commission and the Air Safety Committee are encouraged by the actions being taken by CAAP and Philippines air carriers to address outstanding safety issues," Ledoux said.

"(EU officials) will continue to closely monitor the situation in view of conducting further reviews including other Philippines air carriers."

The EU announced in March 2010 that it had banned all Philippine airlines from flying into Europe for "serious and persistent non-compliance" with the bloc's air safety rules.

PAL president Ramong Ang told reporters at a joint press conference with Ledoux that the carrier planned to begin flights to London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam by September or October.

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