For some Comorians, the Yemenia Airways crash is no surprise
Warnings were raised two years ago about the downed Airbus. According to an immigrant safety advocate, 'We are put in trashy planes that do not meet the norms.'
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"We saw this might happen. We are put in trashy planes that do not meet the norms," said Farid Soilihi, president of SOS-Voyages for Comorians, a Marseilles lobby for safer travel conditions. "We aren't listened to, even in Comoros. The airlines we fly on don't meet regulations. People are heaped on board like animals, schedules aren't kept, there are always technical problems."Skip to next paragraph
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Citing safety concerns, the European Union in 2006 banned 92 airlines, mostly from Africa, from landing at EU airports. Today, with the backdrop of a downed A310 with just one young survivor, and charges of a two-tiered system of safety, the European commissioner for transportation, Antonio Tajani, called for a so-called "black list" to be enforced globally. Mr. Tajani said he would propose the action shortly at the International Civil Aviation Organization in Brussels.
Airline closes its offices
Yemenia Airways is widely used by Comorians because it allows for 88 pounds of luggage, compared with the 44 pounds permitted by most other carriers. Yesterday's itinerary was Paris-Marseille-Sanaa-Djibouti-Moroni. The Yemenia flight was approaching the airport at Moroni when contact was lost at 1:51 a.m. local time.
Today at Agence Yemenia, the airline office in Paris, and at the Yemenia air desk in Marseilles, crowds of ethnic Comorians expressed outrage when airline officials closed their counters and sent staff home following the crash.
"It's totally irresponsible, it's irresponsible," said one young man, complaining on French television.
Disputed claims of bad weather
Many Comorians live in the 3rd district of Marseilles; among them is "Soprano," a famous French rap artist. They often head to their homeland toward the end of June, as schools start to close.
On Tuesday, French authorities said the causes for the crash continue to be "blurry." Airbus officials have expressed sorrow, but added that they had no clues to the cause of the crash and probably won't know more until the black box is recovered.
Inclement weather, an early theory on the cause for the crash, is being disputed. The control tower in Moroni claims the plane went down in stormy weather and rough seas. But an engineer and meteorologist interviewed by French television claimed the winds were at 20 knots, with gusts.