Kieran Daly/LONDON

THE UK GOVERNMENT is considering recommendations which would give operators of Boeing 707s and McDonnell Douglas DC-80-50s temporary waivers from European noise restrictions.

Civil Aviation Administration proposals now with UK transport secretary Brian Mawhinney would give 12-month dispensations to about 75% of the dozen or so operators which otherwise face the banning of their aircraft.

The move follows strenuous lobbying by a 707/DC-8 Working Group of operators and maintainers, newly formed to tackle the imminent twin threats posed by ageing-aircraft Airworthiness Directives (ADs) and European noise rules.

From 1 April, Chapter 2 aircraft more than 25 years old will be banned from European Union (EU) countries unless previously given case-by-case waivers under an agreement to assist airlines in Africa and Latin America.

That agreement affects aircraft which were registered in those countries by the end of 1990, which are Chapter 2-compliant (so excluding the handful of non-hushkitted 707s) and were already being operated to Europe. They include 26 707s, 17 Boeing 727s, 22 Boeing 737s, eight DC-8s and two Fokker F28 Fellowships which can now be operated until the final Chapter 2 ban in 2002.

The CAA says that it is sympathetic to developing world carriers and is advising Mawhinney to allow waivers to operators of nearly 20 other aircraft, even though some were added in the knowledge of the problems ahead.

It hopes that efforts to develop a Chapter 3 hushkit for the aircraft will yield results by around September. Renewals of the waivers would then require the carriers to order the hushkits.

The CAA says that it is optimistic that the rest of Europe will support its initiative, although each country has to award a separate waiver.

The 707/DC-8 Working Group includes Angola Air Charter, Tarom, Omega Air, TAAT, Sky Air Cargo, Avistar Airlines, Transbrasil, Aer Turas, Nigeria Airways, MK Airlines, Seagreen Air Transport, Summit Aviation of the UK, Aviation Resources and Orchid Aviation Services.

It is asking Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration for help in dealing with the potential grounding on 29 April of 707s with 20,000 flights which have not had structural ADs completed.

It claims that Boeing is unable to supply the required kits in time and it wants the manufacturer to draw up an integrated maintenance planning document to streamline the lengthy work. Meanwhile, it wants additional time from the regulators in which to deal with the problem.

Source: Flight International