Zambia has met some demands by the European Union International Civil Aviation Authority Organisation (ICAO) over the blacklisting of Zambian registered planes from entering the European airspace. The Zambian registered planes were blacklisted after an ICAO audit conducted in 2009 under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), which observed Significant Safety Concerns (SSC). Among the concerns raised were that there was a shortage of skilled personnel at department of civil aviation and some of the personnel did not have the required ICAO training. The technical guidance materials and check lists also did not have the latest annex provision. But submitting before the committee on Government Assurances, Transport Works, Supply and Communications acting permanent secretary Joe Kapembwa said Zambia had since come up with a Civil Aviation Authority, enacted in 2012, which would ensure autonomy of the department of civil aviation. He said civil aviation requirements had since been met and guidance materials and checklists for technical members of staff updated. “The department of civil aviation trained some technical members of staff in ICAO courses that have upgraded their skills,” he said. He said the International Civil Aviation Organisation coordinated a validation mission and conducted a verification audit from December 12 to 18, 2012, which verified and lifted the significant safety concerns raised by the EU. Other outstanding issues raised by the EU included appointment of a board, director general and members of staff for the Civil Aviation authority still needed to be addressed. Mr Kapembwa, however, said a Cabinet memorandum for the appointment of the board members had since been prepared. Upgrading of Zambia Civil Aviation rules to become regulations were also under review. Recruitment and retention of key personnel was also under review. The first phase of training of staff in ICAO courses, including job on training had been done. Government had also improved technical guidance materials and air operator checklists for the department of civil aviation to meet the latest ICAO standards and recommended practices. Mr Kapembwa said his ministry would complete and submit all outstanding issues to the EU for them to lift the ban and was hopeful that the EU would provide a favourable response. Recently, Vice-President Guy Scott had told parliament that it was sad that Zambian planes were banned because of being unsafe. He said because of the ban, there had been many cancellations of planes carrying American tourists and those from other parts of the world because many insurers were not willing to insure tourists travelling to Zambia.