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98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 284/1

(Preparatory Acts)


Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a Council Directive on
the registration and use within the Community of certain types of civil subsonic jet aeroplanes
which have been modified and recertificated as meeting the standards of Volume I, Part II,
Chapter 3 of Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, third edition (July

(98/C 284/01)

On 27 March 1998 the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee, under
Article 198 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned
The Section for Protection of the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Affairs, which
was responsible for preparing the Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on
1 June 1998. The rapporteur was Mr Gafo Fernández.
At its 356th plenary session held on 1 and 2 July 1998 (meeting of 1 July), the Economic and
Social Committee adopted the following opinion by 125 votes to three, with one abstention.

1. Introduction may not necessarily be any direct correlation between
environment considerations and aircraft safety, the use
1.1. The implementation of Directive 92/14/EEC (1) of new aircraft would increase passenger safety and
on noise from civil subsonic jet aeroplanes means the public safety in general.
gradual phase-out between 1995 and 2002 of aeroplanes
which exceed the noise thresholds established according
to the most stringent international noise standards (2)
and contained in the directive.
1.4. The current draft directive seeks to reconcile the
right of European carriers to demand a structured
1.2. The development of ‘hushkits’ for many noisy renewal of their fleet, as provided for in Directive
aeroplane types has meant that some of these aeroplane 92/14/EEC, with the protection of the environment. It
types no longer need to be phased out, as the fitting of aims to achieve this by restricting the fitting of hushkits
hushkits enables them to meet the noise standards laid to aeroplanes currently registered in an EU Member
down in Directive 92/14/EEC. State and banning the registration in Member States of
hushkitted aeroplanes which have been operating in
1.3. The noise problem, however, is not the only other countries.
adverse effect that these generally very old aeroplanes
have on the environment. At the same time they have a
considerably higher fuel consumption than more modern
planes, which means that their CO2 and NOx emissions 1.4.1. So, one of the objectives of the current draft
are relatively much higher. In addition, while there directive is to avoid a potential influx of hushkitted
aircraft from the United States for registration in the
EU, as the noise standards established for the air fleet in
(1) OJ L 76, 23.3.1992. the US are set to trigger a considerable surplus of this
(2) These are contained in Chapter 3 of Annex 16 to the type of aircraft with a very high average age, and these
Convention on International Civil Aviation. aircraft may well find their way into the EU.
C 284/2 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 14.9.98

2. General comments to study ways of preventing the possible emergence
of flags of convenience under the protection of the
2.1. The Economic and Social Committee supports temporary exemption provided for under Article 3(3),
the current draft directive’s aim of improving the which would result in unfair competition for EU carriers.
protection of the environment and air transport safety
while safeguarding existing plans for the renewal of the 2.5. The ESC agrees with the temporary exemptions
air fleet owned by EU carriers in keeping with the granted in the draft directive for emergency cases.
provisions of Directive 92/14/CEE.
2.5.1. However, the Committee wishes to oppose the
2.2. The ESC wishes to stress that, given the inter- exemption granted under Article 4.2 to civil aircraft
national nature of air transport, EU measures should used exclusively outside the territory of the Community
serve as an immediate reference framework for adoption and in the French overseas departments.
at international level within the ICAO (1) so that Euro-
pean air carriers are not forced into a situation of 2.6. Lastly, the ESC stresses that the European Union
competitive disadvantage. should play a pro-active leadership role, within Europe
itself above all and also within the ICAO, to ensure that
2.3. The ESC would also like to highlight the fact these standards are adopted at international level. This
that, in order to achieve harmonization across the EU is the only way to guarantee effective and universal
and fit in with the global and border-free nature of air protection of the environment and a parallel increase in
transport operations the adoption of the draft directive air transport safety.
in conjunction with Directive 92/14/EEC should avoid
any across-the-board and insufficiently justified 3. Specific comments
operating restrictions in certain airports, which could
endanger the single market in air transport. 3.1. The following new recital should be added:
2.3.1. The ESC recently issued an opinion on airport ‘Whereas given the international nature of air trans-
charges (2) in which it welcomes the Commission’s port, efforts should be made to ensure that measures
proposal (3) to allow these to be differentiated according to limit noise pollution from aeroplanes are adopted
to the level of noise pollution from different aeroplanes. as part of international agreements; whereas if such
This would promote the use of less noisy aeroplanes measures are adopted at Community level, they
and thus contribute to protecting the environment. should serve as a reference for adoption as quickly
as possible at international level.’
2.4. The ESC has become aware of the major effort
which the draft directive will entail for air freight 3.2. The following new recital should be added:
carriers, due to the fact that the aeroplanes used for this
purpose are relatively older and mainly use airports ‘Whereas in order to avoid a deterioration in noise
during night hours. The ESC calls upon the Commission levels around airports, measures to restrict aeroplane
noise should be backed up with more systematic
(1) International Civil Aviation Organization. planning of the surrounding air space and be
(2) OJ 73, 9.3.1998. accompanied by specific measures for research into
(3) Proposal for a Council Directive on airport charges, OJ noise reduction under the Fifth Community RTD
C 257, 22.8.1997. Framework Programme.’

Brussels, 1 July 1998.

The President
of the Economic and Social Committee