Air Ban: Paradise Island to Be Cut Off From Air Travel & Shipping?

São Tomé International Airport

São Tomé International Airport. Photo by Inna Moody

Apparently, the airport in São Tomé is in danger of being shut down, because of a impeding ban by the International Civil Aviation Organization, following an inspection in January.

Companies flying the Santomean flag were previously banned from flying into European airspace, for lax safety measures. According to Tela Non, the islands will have to implement fundamental improvements involving financial investment in civil aviation sector in order to get out of the blacklist.

The country is heavily dependent on the Portuguese air company TAP for flights to Europe. Last December TAP threatened to cancel all flights to the archipelago unless the runway was repaired, as reported by Afrol.

The Prime Minister, Rafael Branco, said this on a press conference:

It’s an issue we have to resolve rapidly. Very rapidly even, according to the report. But to have two fire trucks at the airport, we need something like two million dollars (almost 1.5 million euros) and we don’t have that money.

More Coverage on AFP, MacauHub, and on Tela Non here and here.

Shipping Ban?

At least one post in the local forums indicates, that air travel is not the only problem – the port could also be in danger, because of being blacklisted by the International Maritime Organization for breach of rules relating to port security, established in the ISPS Code – International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code or the International Code for the protection of ships and port facilities.

The picture is more dramatic. We run the risk that the our only port and one airport prevented from receiving certain vessels and aircraft. It is time to ask what the leadership of this country wants for his people.

Portanto, o cenário é mais dramático. Corremos o risco de ver os nosso único porto e único aeroporto impedidos de receberem certos navios e aeronaves. É altura de perguntar o que é que a liderança deste país quer para o seu povo.

Source: Mé-Chinhô on Sao Tome Yahoo Group

Should these bans be enacted, Sao Tome & Principe could be left without European flights, and international ships. Unfortunately this is no April Fools joke.