The European Union (EU) has banned Venezuelan airline Conviasa from flying in any of its 27-member states due to safety concerns.

Conviasa, which was set up by the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2004, was added to the EU air safety blacklist because of numerous safety concerns as a result of numerous accidents and checks carried out at EU airports.

In a statement, the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for transport, Siim Kallas, said: The Commission is ready to spare no effort to assist its neighbors in building their technical and administrative capacity to overcome any difficulties in the area of safety as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

In the meantime, safety comes first. We cannot afford any compromise in this area. Where we have evidence inside or outside the European Union that air carriers are not performing safe operations, we must act to guarantee to exclude any risks to safety.

Currently 21 States have complete bans on aircraft flying into the EU with a further 16 individual airlines either blacklisted or only permitted to operate under restricted flying conditions.

In addition, Libya had voluntarily agreed to stop its national carriers from flying to the EU until at least November while it struggles to improve air safety standards.

Conviasa, which has a fleet of 18 aircraft, has been plagued with numerous safety concerns and labor disputes.

The carrier was forced to suspend operations in 2010 after a domestic flight crashed killing all 17 on board.