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NPA 2014-26

Halon: Update of Part-26 to comply with ICAO Standards

This Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) addresses an environmental issue related to the replacement of halon in fire protection systems in aircraft cargo compartments, engine and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) compartments, lavatory waste receptacles and in portable handheld fire extinguishers for use in cabins and crew compartments. It applies to large aeroplanes (CS-25) and large rotorcraft (CS-29).

This rulemaking task takes into account amendments to ICAO Annex 6, applicable as from 15 December 2011, but not yet transposed into common EU rules: Amendment 35 to Part I (International Commercial Air Transport — Aeroplanes), Amendment 30 to Part II (International General Aviation — Aeroplanes) and Amendment 16 to Part III (International Operations — Helicopters). The specific objective is to progressively mitigate the environmental impact that halon extinguishing agents in fire fighting equipment have on the atmosphere and the climate change and to progressively achieve a ‘halon-free’ aviation, which balances the environmental needs with safe and cost-efficient rules. The Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) demonstrates that for cargo and engine/APU compartments the most appropriate option at the present moment is to ‘do nothing’.

This NPA, hence, proposes to develop an Opinion to amend Part-26 (Additional Airworthiness Requirements) and a Decision to amend CS-26 (Additional Airworthiness Specifications for Operations), laying out the framework for the replacement of halon in lavatories and in handheld fire extinguishers on newly produced aircraft (i.e. ‘forward fit’) based on existing Type Certificates (TCs); as from 31 December 2015 in lavatories and as from 31 December 2018 in handheld fire extinguishers. These dates constitute a difference in respect of ICAO Annex 6. No ‘forward-fit’ dates are mentioned in Commission Regulation (EU) No 744/2010. No ‘retrofit’ on the aircraft currently in the fleet is proposed.

The proposed changes are expected to maintain safety, improve harmonisation and ensure compliance, albeit with some delay, with ICAO Standards.

A second NPA is planned to cover some CS-23 aeroplanes and some CS-27 rotorcraft often used in international air navigation.