EU-ETS Aviation

The European Union has included aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The legislative framework is the Directive 2008/101/ECand the Decision 2009/339/EC.


From 2012 onwards, airlines operating in EU are required to buy and can sell allowances to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Member State responsible defines an emission cap for each individual operator who had applied for it, following a benchmark fixed by the European Commission. That benchmark depends on the traveled tn/km during 2010.

Operators exceeding their quotas are allowed to buy unused credits form those doing better at cutting their emissions, helping to reach the EU targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

The cap-and-trade system is a market mechanism for reducing emissions. The cap limits the total amount of emissions and the trade economically rewards the “greeners” over the “polluters”.

From 1stof January 2010each aircraft operator shall report (Annual Emission Report) the emissions from the aircrafts which he operates during each calendar year. This report must be verified every year before 31st of March by an accredited Verification Body, as EMICERT ltdand submitted to the competent authority.


Aircraft operator flights departing from and/or arriving in an aerodrome situated in the European Union. There are some specific exclusions like military and police flights, flights related to search and rescue, fire-fighting flights, humanitarian flights and emergency medical service flights, training flights, etc.

After international negotiation, EU decided that only emissions from flights between airports in the European Economic Area (EEA, covering the 28 EU Member States plus Norway and Iceland) would continue to be covered.

For the aviation operators remaining in the EU ETS every year before 31st of March the Annual Emission Report should be verified by an accredited Verification Body, as EMICERT ltd.


In April 2013 the EU decided to temporarily suspend enforcement of the EU ETS requirements for flights from or to non EEA countries and fully exempted for 2013, while continuing to apply the legislation to flights within and between ΕΕΑ countries in Europe. Furthermore, from 1st of January 2014, flights to and from countries outside the EEA would benefit from a general exemption for the proportion of emissions that take place outside EEA airspace. Only the emissions from the proportion of a flight taking place within EEA airspace would be covered.

The EU took this initiative to allow time for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop by 2016 a global market-based mechanism (MBM) addressing international aviation emission and apply it by 2020. Until then, countries or groups of countries, such as the EU, can implement interim measures.




With our expertise in CO2 emissions monitoring and verification starting in the pre-compliance phase, EMICERT can perform pre-verification of your monitoring systems. This includes:



  • Strategic and Risk Analysis of your monitoring system (nature, scope and complexity of the system, management systems, inherent risk and control measures)
  • Verification of the data collected according to your monitoring system (spot-check of single planes and/or routes)


These services will allow you to:


- Assess and improve your Monitoring Plan, giving you a greater chance of getting it approved by the Competent Authority on time;
- Gain experience and strengthen your negotiating position for final monitoring and verification requirements;
- Avoid monitoring problems during the actual monitoring period and win precious time during the final verification phase.