French authorities seize Polish charter carrier aircraft over non-payment of airport noise violation fines
Thu 25 Aug 2016 – The French airport nuisance authority ACNUSA has briefly seized an aircraft belonging to Enter Air, Poland’s biggest charter operator, over non-payment of noise disturbance fines totalling over €1.1 million ($1.24m). The B737-800 aircraft was held at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport for around five hours on August 10 before the fines were settled. According to ACNUSA, the airline committed over 80 violations of night-time restrictions at CDG between 2013 and 2014, which resulted in the fines. The authority, which has to date issued 5,642 fines totalling €45,354,120 ($51m) against nearly 1,000 aircraft operators, said this was the first time it had seized an aircraft and the precedent sent a strong warning to other airlines.
ACNUSA (Autorité de Contrôle Des Nuisances Sonores Aéroportuaires), which was created in 1999, said a further 159 aircraft operators, 10 of which each owed over €70,000 ($79,000), had yet to pay outstanding fines and it would not rule out similar action.
The authority has responsibility for all noise monitoring devices around airports and can make recommendations on any matter relating to environmental pollution, including air quality, generated by air transport around all French airports. It also must satisfy a duty to provide information to affected residents.
The French penalty system for violators of noise restrictions was unique in the world, according to ACNUSA President, Victor Haïm. Criminal penalties existed elsewhere but were rarely implemented, he said.
Warsaw-based Enter Air started operations in 2010 and its fleet of 19 older Boeing 737-400 and newer -800 aircraft fly to popular holiday destinations from Polish and other European airports. The seized aircraft was due to fly holiday-makers to and from Palma de Mallorca, who were transferred to another aircraft.