In 2008, the EU decided to include aviation activities in the EU ETS
, and they are thus subject to the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least minus 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. The initial scope of the EU ETS covered all flights arriving at, or departing from, airports in the European Economic Area (EEA). However, flights to and from airports in non-EEA countries or in the outermost regions were subsequently excluded until the end of 2023 through a temporary derogation. This exclusion
, facilitated negotiation of a global market-based measure for international aviation emissions at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
It is permitted to link the EU ETS with other emissions trading systems, provided that these systems are compatible, mandatory and have an absolute emission cap. An agreement to link the systems of the EU and Switzerland entered into force on 1 January 2020
. Accordingly, flights from the EEA area to Switzerland are subject to the EU ETS, and flights from Switzerland to the EEA area fall under the Swiss ETS
. Allowances from both systems can be used to compensate for emissions occurring in either system.
The EU ETS Support Facility
continues to provide 26 States with access to ETS-related data, as well as traffic and emissions data to over 300 aircraft operators.
In July 2021, the European Commission adopted the ‘Fit for 55’ Legislative Package to make the EU’s climate, energy, transport and taxation policies fit for achieving the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. This included proposed amendments to the EU ETS Directive for aviation activities
- Consolidating the total quantity of aviation allowances at current levels;
- Applying a higher linear reduction factor of 4.2% per year to the aviation cap, instead of the current 2.2%;
- A gradual phase out of the free allocation of EUAAs (EU Aviation Allowances) to aircraft operators by 2027;
- Continuation of the intra-EEA application of the EU ETS, as well as flights to Switzerland and the UK51;
- Implementing CORSIA appropriately to extra-EEA flights; and
- Ensuring that airlines are treated equally on the same routes with regard to their obligations and economic impacts.
In addition, the Commission is proposing to adjust the EU ETS Directive to implement Member States’ notification to EU-based airlines of the offsetting requirements for the year 2021
51In the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached in December 2020, the EU ETS will continue to apply to departing flights from the EEA to the UK, while a UK ETS will apply effective carbon pricing on flights departing from the UK to the EEA, starting in 2021. See also Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1416 of 17 June 2021.