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Aviation law: greenhouse gas emission allowances to airlines

27 Sep 2011

On 26 September, 2011, European Commission published benchmarks allocating greenhouse gas emission allowances free of charge to aircraft operators pursuant to Article 3e of Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. Subsequently, free aviation allowances will be distributed to more than 900 aircraft operators. 

Following this decision, aviation will join the European Union’s emissions trading system by 2012. The decision of European Commission sets out two benchmark values that have been calculated for the period starting from 1 January to 31 December 2012 and for the trading period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020. In 2012 aircraft operators will receive 0.6797 allowances per 1,000 tonne-kilometres free of charge. However, this number will be reduced in 2013-2020, and airlines will receive only 0.6422 allowances during this period. 

In 2012 the total quantity of allowances will be equal to 97% of the EEA-wide 2004-2006 average of CO2 gas emissions from aviation sector. In the period 2013-2020 this percentage will be reduced by 2%. In addition, 85% of aviation allowances will be allocated for free to aircraft operators in 2012 and in the period 2013-2020 this percentage will be reduced by 13%. The remaining 15% will be auctioned every year starting from 2012. From 2013, 3% of allowances will be held in a special reserve in order to distribute to new entrants and fast growing airlines.

The European Union’s emissions trading system will be applicable to aircraft operators, whether EU or foreign-based, that choose to operate flights on routes to, from, or between EU airports.

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