The European Commission (EC) has agreed to delay by four weeks the introduction of tough rules on hushkitted aircraft while negotiations with the USA continue on a compromise deal.
The move follows US objections to the ruling, which would ban hushkitted aircraft after 2002 and prohibit the addition of such aircraft to European Union (EU)registers after 29 April.
"We're willing to look at how we may address the ruling, but only in a manner compatible with the regulation," says the EC Transport Department. "We're prepared to look at modifications, but they cannot change the direction or impact of the regulations."
The US House of Representatives has voted to ban operations of the Aerospatiale/British Aerospace Concorde to the USA, if the EC ruling goes ahead. It complains that the ruling would cut the residual value of Boeing 727s, 737s and McDonnell Douglas DC-9s fitted with hushkits. The EC points out, however, that such aircraft are "disappearing fast" from the EU register and are of little interest to European airlines, which have largely re-equipped with modern aircraft. Concorde is exempt from noise laws.
The EC says the residual value issue could be one area of negotiation. It suggests that such aircraft "with a history of flying into the EU" might be excluded from the 29 April deadline. A 727, for example, operating within a reference period from 1995-9, "might be allowed to operate" in the region, it says.
The US Senate has yet to confirm the Concorde ban and has been advised by US Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater to await the outcome of the forthcoming talks. Slater says the USA continues to maintain its objections to the regulation, "including its concern for the discriminatory trade impact of the ruling".
The two sides are to discuss a new Chapter 4 noise standard for the longer term.
Source: Flight International