Under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, all EU member states must use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain, from production to final consumption. Germany has recently transposed the directive into national law, requiring large companies to audit their energy consumption before the end of 2015.

Who is affected?

Energy audits are compulsory for all companies (irrespective of business area) with:

  • more than 250 employees;
  • an annual turnover of more than €50 million; or
  • an annual balance-sheet total of more than €43 million.

European air carriers and third-country carriers are equally affected. This also applies to foreign airlines (with more than 250 employees) with a local establishment that employs fewer than 250 employees in Germany.

Audit deadlines

Affected airlines must undergo an energy audit according to Standard EN 16247-1 by December 5 2015. A deadline extension is not expected. Re-auditing must occur at least every four years thereafter.

Audit requirements

An energy audit is a systematic inspection and analysis of energy use and energy consumption of a plant, building, system or organisation, with the aim of monitoring energy flows. Audits will identify and report on potential for energy efficiency improvements.

For airlines operating flights to and from Germany, fuel consumption must be taken into account (ie, cross-border traffic and international flights must be included in the audit).

Are audit slots available?

A few energy audit slots are available. They must be conducted by a registered energy auditor. Auditor availability appears limited, especially where EU-wide audits are concerned. For airlines which fly to several EU destinations, it is advisable to coordinate audits and engage a single auditor that offers pan-European services. Additionally, internal or external energy representatives must be appointed as point of contact and coordinator for the audit.

Are alternatives available?

The only way to avoid an energy audit is by having a certified energy management system according to ISO 50001 or a validated environmental management system according to the Eco Management and Audit Scheme. German legislature grants more time – until December 31 2016 – to companies which opt for a certified energy or environmental management system instead of the energy audit. However, the first steps towards implementation must be completed by December 5 2015.


Airlines which fail to carry out or perform an energy audit, or which do not conduct it properly, completely or in time, may be fined up to €50,000. A fine can also be imposed if the necessary proof is not submitted to the authorities on request. It is thus advisable to finish the audit and have the report completed on time.

For further information on this topic please contact Ulrich Steppler or Katja Helen Brecke at Arnecke Sibeth Rechtsanwaelte by telephone (+49 69 97 98 85 0) or email (usteppler@arneckesibeth.com or kbrecke@arneckesibeth.com). The Arnecke Sibeth website can be accessed at www.arneckesibeth.com.

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