EXCLUSIVE Aerospace companies warn of issues with delays in U.S. engine regulations

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Technicians build LEAP engines for airliners at a General Electric (GE) plant in Lafayette, Indiana, United States, March 29, 2017. REUTERS / Alwyn Scott / File Photo

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Sept. 10 (Reuters) – Aerospace companies urge the United States to speed up review of rule changes for aircraft engines, warning delays in implementing planned global emissions standards could trigger industrial delays.

The warning from the Aerospace Industries Association of the United States (AIA) comes as aerospace companies are more exposed to unexpected regulatory or economic problems following the COVID-19 crisis.

The standards would curb the flow of potentially damaging soot particles and will not come into effect until early 2023.

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But executives warn that an already overloaded supply chain needs clarity long before that to avoid disruption. And they complain that a process involving two Washington agencies is moving too slowly, when Europe has already taken action.

“Any delay in implementing the regulations would create uncertainty, which could have a significant impact on our supply chain, airline deliveries and adversely affect the overall global competitiveness of the US industry,” said Leslie Riegle. , AIA deputy vice president of civil aviation in response to a request from Reuters.

The rules must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which plans to produce a final rule by September 2022.

But industry officials say the EPA’s timeline means the deadline could be compromised as the changes must also be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

It’s unclear when the FAA will complete its work, but industry sources say it should take several months. After that, they say, businesses will need more time to adjust.

The United States is home to two of the three largest engine manufacturers in the world, General Electric (GE.N) and Pratt & Whitney of Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N).

GE said it was encouraging the administration “to speed up the development of its rules” so that manufacturers have “clear standards to demonstrate compliance by the 2023 deadline.”

Pratt & Whitney declined to comment.

UNUSUAL WORKAROUND

The two agencies, the EPA and the FAA, have said they are working to complete the process by the time the global standard goes into effect in early 2023.

Yet questions about meeting the deadline prompted some executives to consider an unusual workaround by indirectly seeking approvals from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the EU’s counterpart. FAA in Europe.

Such a move is possible due to the interconnected nature of the aerospace industry. But that would require FAA involvement and could create additional work and costs for U.S. manufacturers, a senior industry source said.

The proposal comes at a time when US regulators are seeing their traditional aviation leadership increasingly diluted after a crisis over the design and approval of Boeing’s 737 MAX (BA.N).

“Any action EASA may take on this issue will be closely coordinated with the FAA,” an EASA spokesperson said. The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the potential workaround.

The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), whose board of directors adopted the new global standards in 2020, has said it will reduce the environmental and health impact of soot emissions known as name of non-volatile particles.

ICAO cannot impose its will on governments, so the United States, Europe and other aircraft producing countries must translate global engine standards into national rules.

EASA said European companies have already started submitting requests to comply with the rules, which apply to engines providing at least 6,000 pounds of thrust that are in production from 2023 and new models by the following.

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Additional reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago; Editing by Tim Hepher and Susan Fenton

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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