Air Transport World

Breaking the sound barrier.

Pending EU noise rules violate ICAO standards, undermine the organization's authority and hurt airlines, opponents say

The European Union's effort to limit and eventually eliminate the importation and operation within EU member states of aircraft hush kitted or otherwise quieted to Chapter III noise standards has created a rift between Europe and other areas of the world and thrown into disarray international efforts to harmonize the ongoing transition to a Stage 3/Chapter III noise regime.

Legislation passed by the European Parliament last month--and expected to be approved by EU Transport Ministers--will bar the addition of Chapter III hush-kitted aircraft to EU registries from next month and ban the operation in the EU of such aircraft after April, 2002, unless they were operated in the EU prior to April 1, 1999. Transfer from the registry of one EU state to another after April 1,1999, would, however, be permitted and such EU-registered aircraft could be operated after April 1, 2002 (see box, page 34).

While not wholly unexpected--the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and EU both had been pushing such a step for some time--the ban has drawn fire from IATA and regions as diverse as North America and Africa, where airlines operate many of the aircraft types potentially affected by the new rules. These include Boeing 727s and 737s, DC-9s, BAC1-11s and some 747-lOOs that have been hush kitted or otherwise quieted to achieve Stage 3/Chapter III compliance. Critics say the action by the EU is unnecessary and, in the words of ATA, will severely undercut--if not, destroy entirely--ICAO's efforts to address environmental issues on a uniform, international basis."

A similar argument was made by the 53 contracting African states at the 32d ICAO Assembly last fall: "Unilateral action [by the EU] will erode ICAO's jurisdiction and lead to the proliferation of local rules and regulations that are uncoordinated and inconsistent, [undermining] efforts to achieve global harmonization." At the same meeting, ICAO members firmly rejected a proposal by the EU and ECAC that would have allowed jurisdictions to redefine ICAO technical aircraft standards unilaterally. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.