EU suffers legal setback over hushkits ban

International Civil Aviation Organisation refuses to throw out US complaint against European rules

The EU has suffered a legal setback to its regulation banning aircraft fitted with hushkit noise mufflers after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) refused to declare a US complaint against the rules inadmissible. Now faced with a legal battle against America, the Europeans have only until 2 December to submit detailed counter-arguments to the US complaint.

Europe's controversial ban on hushkitted aircraft is designed to reduce noise. The rules took effect for EU-registered airlines in May and will affect all aircraft using EU airports from 2002 (ENDS Daily 3 April). The USA maintains that the measures discriminate against its aircraft manufacturers without actually reducing noise (ENDS Daily 19 January), and complained to the ICAO when it became clear that the EU would not back down (ENDS Daily 14 March).

The European Commission today publicly defended its arguments for legal inadmissibility under ICAO rules of America's complaint against the hushkits regulation.

Whereas ICAO parties are required to try to settle differences relative to the ICAO's founding charter, the Chicago convention, before complaints are made, the US government had only raised economic concerns with the EU, it said. In addition, separate litigation before national courts and the European Court of Justice should have been allowed to reach its conclusion before international legal action was taken.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111, and press release; ICAO, tel: +1 514 954 8219); European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111, and press release; ICAO, tel: +1 514 954 8219">ICAO, tel: +1 514 954 8219.

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