Noisy trade

Published: Sunday 31 January 1999

a european Commission's ( ec' s) decision to clamp down on the use of old noisy aircraft inside European Union's ( eu' s) airspace is set to provoke a trade dispute between the eu and the us. W ith the unanimous backing of 15 eu member states, the ec plans to restrict the use of noisy aircraft from April 2000, even if they have been fitted with special engine mufflers or "hush-kits".

The us, whose hush-kit manufacturers are likely to suffer from the restriction, believes the measures will damage trade.

But ec, on the other hand argues that such aircraft would undermine the environmental benefits that are expected to flow from the upgrading by airlines to newer, quieter machines.

At the moment, many airlines operate older aircraft whose engines have been muffled with hush-kits and which, in theory, meet the standards of Chapter Three models. However, ec argues that they are still noisier than new models.

The eu move reinforces efforts to limit the growing problem of aircraft noise around Europe's congested airports. us negotiators were in Brussels, Belgium, holding talks with ec officials to try and resolve the issue.

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