Venezuela has rejected the European Union's decision to add one of its airlines to a no-fly list, banning it from entering the bloc's air space for safety reasons.

The country's Foreign ministry called the ban preventing Conviasa from flying in Europe unfair, adding that Venezuela was considering as yet unspecified reciprocal measures.

A statement by the ministry said the ban contradicts assessments made the International Civil Aviation Organization regarding safe operating conditions.

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 of 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 all the aircraft of 21 states are completely banned from flying into the EU, with a further 16 individual airlines either blacklisted or only permitted to operate under restricted flying conditions.

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. Flights have since resumed.