U.S., EU pump up volume in dispute over jet noise
Vote Thursday could keep 1,500 U.S.-made planes out of Europe
April 28, 1999
From Science Correspondent Ann Kellan
(CNN) -- The noise made by jet airplanes is causing a noisy rift between the United States and the European Union.
The EU wants to replace existing worldwide standards for aircraft with tougher measures that could eventually keep older and noisier planes out of the European fleet. About 1,500 of those planes are owned by U.S. companies, and the U.S. Congress is threatening to retaliate by preventing the supersonic Concorde aircraft from landing in America.
The EU is scheduled to vote Thursday on the new standards, which will go into effect next year.
"It is very difficult to continually explain to a population that is affected by noise problems that we are not going to address their noise concerns," said Anders Jessen of the European Commission Office.
Many of the older U.S. aircraft have been quieted with devices called hush kits and meet international noise standards set by the United Nations. But they are not quiet enough to meet the new European standards.
U.S. officials complain that the Concorde -- operated by British Airways and Air France -- will not be subject to the same noise requirements.
"We feel this is not only discriminatory but it is hypocritical in a way," said John Douglass of the Aerospace Industries Association. "They are banning much quieter airplanes for their airspace and then they are saying to us, 'You let our noisy airplane fly in the U.S.'"
The restrictions would kick in when U.S. planes are resold to another country. If those planes are banned from Europe, they would fetch a much lower resale price.
"Any time you have an airplane that can only fly to certain places in the world, it is less valuable than one that could be used anywhere," Douglass said.
Douglass says the EU is just trying to block the use of U.S. planes in favor of European-made planes and is setting a dangerous precedent by snubbing worldwide standards.
But European officials claim their efforts to create quieter skies with tougher noise standards were constantly stonewalled at the United Nations, with the United States taking the lead.
Tomorrow/Today: Schools raise ruckus to reduce airport noise
CAAP - Citizens Against Airport Pollution
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