Climate Action

Free allocation of 2013 aviation allowances scheduled for later this year

  Jet over skyline © Brand X Pictures

The allocation of 2013 aviation allowances will not take place before the end of September in order to allow the taking into account of expected progress at the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Aviation allowances are distributed by Member States after the necessary procedures have been completed and the European Commission makes them available in the Union Registry.

The timing of allocation in 2013 does not impact aircraft operators. Aviation allowances issued this year cannot be used for compliance in respect of 2012 emissions, but only in respect of emissions during phase 3 of the EU ETS from 2013 to 2020. The first compliance deadline in phase 3 is 30 April 2014.

A global approach to addressing the fast growing emissions from international aviation is clearly the EU's preferred solution.  The 38th ICAO Assembly is expected to take forward international efforts by agreeing on a timetable for a single global measure, and on a framework for facilitating national and regional market-based measures (MBMs) pending the application of the global MBM. A key issue for the framework is the geographic scope of a national or regional MBM. In the context of such an ICAO framework, the EU favours an approach based on departing flights. Nationality and airspace-based approaches are also under discussion.

In the event of progress at the 38th Assembly, European legislation provides for alignment of the EU ETS with such an outcome. To support a positive outcome at the Assembly, the Commission is currently undertaking analysis in light of the options related to geographic scope currently being considered by ICAO.  An issuance of allowances now for the full scope of departing and arriving international flights could otherwise necessitate the return of allowances in light of a successful outcome at ICAO. In the meantime, the Commission and Member States will work to provide aircraft operators with the breakdown of allowances in 2013 related to intra-European, departing and arriving flights respectively.

Further information about the timing to complete the 2013 allocation process will be forthcoming once the outcome of the 38th Assembly is clearer, in particular on the issue of the framework that would apply pending application of a global MBM.