February 24 - From Monday, March 1, AN-12 aircraft have been banned from UAE airspace in a move that the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) states is "aimed at raising safety standards in the civil aviation sector in the UAE".

The GCAA made the decision to ban the heavy lift workhorse after setting up a special technical committee to determine airworthiness of foreign aircraft flying to UAE airports.

The technical committee conducted a technical audit on the Antonov Design Bureau, the Ukrainian design bureau, to determine the airworthiness of the aircraft. The audit team also assessed the civil aviation administration system in Ukraine. The audit showed that the aircraft did not meet all the international safety standards, said the GCAA.

Ismail Mohammed Al Balooshi, director of safety at GCAA said: "There were numerous incidents that involved Antonov aircraft in 2008, including three minor incidents at Sharjah International Airport and one crash in Iraq. That is why GCAA made an initial decision to temporarily ban this aircraft, pending the results of the assessment by the technical committee regarding the airworthiness of Antonov AN-12. The assessment showed that this aircraft cannot be operated safely."