ACI lambasts EC as it backs down on noise

European airports have criticised the European Commission's (EC) failure to set national or regional limits on aircraft noise just as the EC formally backed down from its controversial rule banning the import of hushkitted aircraft onto the European register.

The EC said the move, allowing "noise sensitive" airports to act individually to phase out marginally compliant Chapter 3 aircraft was the result of a recommendation by October's assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. ICAO agreed states should only adopt local operating restrictions on aircraft that meet the Chapter 3 noise certification standard within a margin of 5dB after the benefits and costs have been assessed and all other possible measures to reduce noise have been taken.

Claudio Boccardo, president of Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, says ICAO has bowed to US pressure in accepting theso-called "balanced approach" to handling airport noise regulation. This, he says, outlaws national or wider regional environmental standards, resulting in fragmented decision-making by local administrations on noise regulations for individual airports. It leads to the opposite of a level playing field for airports and airlines, he adds.

The ACI wants ICAO to be stricter with aircraft noise worldwide, and also recommends noise regulation decisions should be made not just in a global forum like ICAO, but also at a national or regional level. The EC's formal proposal for new legislation on hushkits will now be examined by the EU Council of Ministers.

Source: Flight International