Aviation in the EU ETS
The aviation sector has been part of the EU ETS since 2012. The necessary legislation was adopted in 2008 through amendments to the Trade Directive. Included are all emissions from flights arriving or departing from any airport located in the European Union or EEA/EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
The aviation sector is also included in the link with Switzerland. Aviation operations within the Swiss ETS reflect the same principles as within the EU ETS.
Each aircraft operator included is assigned to a Member State which then is responsible for decisions on free allocation and compliance. An aircraft operator based in the EU is assigned to the Member State issuing the license while an aircraft operator based outside the EU is assigned to the Member State where the bulk of the emissions have been made. Aircraft operators may use both aviation allowances and general allowances in fulfilling obligations under ETS compliance.
In 2012, the EU decided that flights to and from non-EEA countries were to be temporarily exempted from the EU ETS, so that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) would have time to establish a global agreement on limiting emissions.
The exception was called “Stop-the-clock” and was extended until 2016. In 2017, the exception was further extended.
In 2016, ICAO reached an agreement on a market-based mechanism, CORSIA, for limiting emissions from aviation. Work is currently underway within ICAO to develop the necessary implementation rules and tools to make the system operational.