Russian airlines are seeking exemptions to Europe's airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS II) deadline, which took effect at the start of April, and are calling for an extension to European Union Chapter 3 noise and emissions rules which are set for introduction on 1 April 2002.


One of the proposers of the move, Alexei Isaikin, general director of Volga-Dnepr Airlines, which operates Antonov An-124-100s and Ilyushin Il-76TDs, says its aircraft must be able to continue to operate on the continent. "The Il-76 has a valuable role in the European market. There is no Western freighter with the ability to carry its type of loads," he says.

The final ACAS II deadline - requiring all civil fixed-wing turbine-engined aircraft with a maximum take-off weight exceeding 15,000kg (33,000lb) or more than 30 seats to be equipped with the latest ACAS equipment - took effect on 31 March. Eurocontrol was forced to introduce an "exceptional exemption" procedure, however, for operators unable to meet the mandate due to equipment supply issues (Flight International, 13-20 March).

Some 99 Russian and CIS operators of 402 Russian-built aircraft are believed to have applied for short-term exemptions - about half of the total exemption applications so far. A "very large proportion" of these are believed to have provided the correct documentation to gain exemptions, such as a contract for ACAS equipment.

Although the bulk of Russian carriers are demonstrating their intention to meet the requirement, sources suggest that the Russian authorities had earlier proposed to waive overflight charges for a limited period for trans-Siberian routes in return for easing the mandate.

Ilyushin has finished the work needed to install ACAS and is preparing for European reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM). It aims to offer a Chapter 3 "solution" by mid-May.

ACAS and RVSM solutions are approved for the Tu-134 and Tu-154, but Chapter 3 standards are considered uneconomical for these types, early Il-62s and possibly the Il-86.o Russia's State Service of Civil Aviation, meanwhile, is doubtful that the Chapter 3 noise and emissions standards can be economically met for the Tu-134 and -154B, early Il-62s and possibly the Il-86.

Source: Flight International