EU takes action on aircraft noise

Commission acts to avoid influx of modified planes to beat 2002 noise standard deadline

The European Commission today warned airlines that it intends to interpret strictly an international agreement to cut noise from aircraft by 2002. Members of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have agreed to phase out aircraft not meeting state-of-the-art (or "chapter three") noise standards by 1 April 2002. Under the agreement, noisier "chapter two" aircraft which have had "hushkit" noise abatement equipment fitted will still be allowed. While accepting that hushkitted aircraft technically comply with the new noise standard, the European Commission wants to discourage any increase in the number of such aircraft in the EU. It argues that they "cause more nuisances around airports than modern, state-of-the-art engines" and are less fuel efficient. Commissioners today adopted a draft directive under which only hushkitted aircraft registered before 1 April 1999 - either in the EU or any other country - would be permitted to fly into the EU after 1 April 2002. The Commission's main objective is to prevent EU carriers rushing to retrofit aircraft to beat the deadline and to avoid an influx of such aircraft from the US, which is reported to be planning to retrofit up to 1,500 aircraft by 2000. EU Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock said today the move would "encourage the modernisation of airline fleets".

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 295 1111.

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