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EU Postpones Ban On Muffled U.S. Planes

In a bid to defuse a dispute with the U.S., the 15-nation European Union (EU) has postponed for a year a controversial plan to ban airplanes fitted with "hush-kit" engine mufflers from operating in Europe. The planned ban is designed to reduce noise pollution. Instead of hush-kits, the EU wants Americans to put new quieter engines into the planes. The U.S. argues that the anti-hush-kit rule would discriminate against U.S. airlines that operate older fleets. It also would be unfair to engine manufacturers, including United Technologies Corp.'s Pratt & Whitney which makes the kits. Estimates of the cost of the ban to U.S. makers of aircraft engines and parts are around $1 billion. The EU says that, while planes fitted with the hush-kits meet international noise standards, they are noisier than newer model engines.

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