EU ministers stress flexibility over hushkits

Transport Council reiterates willingness to compromise with USA over aircraft noise row

EU transport ministers have reaffirmed their willingness to repeal a European law due to ban aircraft fitted with "hushkit" mufflers from landing at EU airports if progress can be made in talks to introduce tougher global standards on noise emissions. The law, which is due to come into force in May, is strongly opposed by the USA, which claims it discriminates against planes modified there by regulating on the basis of design rather actual noise levels. US aeronautics firms says they have already lost US$2bn because of the planned measure. The chances of a global accord to phase-out so-called chapter 3 aircraft of particular concern to the EU within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) depend crucially on cooperation from the USA. Government officials said earlier this year they would cooperate on the standards, but are insisting the EU make a firmer commitment to repeal the planned hushkit law in return. At their meeting in Brussels today, however, ministers merely said they were "ready to attach appropriate priority" to repealing the law "on the basis of progress in the cooperative process" with the USA. Meeting chairman Olli Pekka Heinonen said the Commission would "continue and intensify" its negotiations with America over the issue.

Follow Up:
EU Council of Ministers, tel: +32 2 285 6111

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