The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has extended through to 1 February next year the deadline for action on Northwest Airlines' complaint against the European Union (EU) about phasing out hushkitted commercial transports.

The issue became controversial when the EU approved action against aircraft fitted with hushkits, but was delayed when, in a last-minute concession to the USA, it postponed the regulation's implementation until 1 May next year.

As part of the compromise, the two sides agreed to push on with the adoption of new Stage 4 aircraft noise and emissions regulations through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Northwest called the EU's proposal a "unilateral act that departs dramatically from the ICAO rulemaking process-in total disregard of existing international standards and agreements". The complaint says restricting the use of hushkitted aircraft would restrain access to Europe and diminish their market value. In agreeing to the new deadline, Northwest will await the outcome of USA, EU and ICAO negotiations on new Stage 4 limits.

"Northwest reserves the right to withdraw its consent to the limited waiver if, in the course of negotiations, it becomes evident that the EU is unwilling to consent to restoring the integrity of the ICAO certification process," the DoT adds.

Source: Flight International