Journal: Flight International Section:
Title: Issue Date: 28/11/00
Author: Page Number: 6

EC and US at odds over hushkitsRamon Lopez/WASHINGTON DC

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has rejected a European Commission (EC) bid to have a US Government complaint over phasing out hushkitted aircraft thrown out .

Washington formally contested the EC's Regulation 925/1999, aimed at reducing aircraft noise at European airports, on 14 March under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention. The EC countered, citing several reasons why the case should not be heard by ICAO. The organisation's Council has overruled that the US negotiated with the EU adequately, and exhausted European legal procedures prior to lodging its complaint with ICAO.

The EC charged that the action requested by Washington - annulment of the hushkit rule - was beyond the convention's scope. The Council also took exception to this issue, and gave the EC until 4 December to modify the claim or, instead, seek redress from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. It is unclear what the EC's next move will be.

The US government, under pressure from US hushkit manufacturers and operators of hushkitted aircraft, claims the regulation discriminates against US industry. Under the ban, hushkitted aircraft registered in non-EU countries would be allowed to operate up to April 2002 - but only if they were already operating in the area at May 2000.

As it now stands, the complaint should be addressed by the Council in May. If the matter is not resolved by ICAO's 33-member governing body, the complaint would be presented to the 185-member ICAO Assembly next September.

Meanwhile, moves to develop a new aircraft noise certification standard (Chapter 4) advanced when the ICAO's Committee of Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) steering group met in Seattle earlier this month. It narrowed down to eight the list of options coming out of cost/benefit analyses. A full CAEP meeting in mid-January will decide which scenario to recommend for adoption as early as September 2001.

The Chapter 4 outcome might produce a compromise between the two sides, allowing ICAO to put the Article 84 issue to rest.o

Source: Flight International