Last week, the EU Presidency and Parliament reached a provisional agreement which seeks to extend the EU ETS derogation relating to international flights operating to and from Europe to the end of 2023. Once implemented, this will bring long-awaited clarity to the industry, since the expiry of the previous derogation in December 2016. It is understood that the revised derogation will expire at the end of the three year pilot phase under ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The provisional agreement will require approval by member states before it comes into force.

It is anticipated that a future review of the EU ETS will take place to consider the effects of a year-on-year reduction on aviation emissions from 2021 onwards.

At the time of writing, MEPs remain concerned that CORSIA may not offer an overall benefit to the climate and that there could potentially be dual regulation. It is, however, hoped that further clarity on how CORSIA will work with the EU ETS and the introduction of set standards, practices and an environmental technical manual for CORSIA may relieve some of these concerns. At the time of writing a draft CORSIA package, including these specific documents, was recommended for adoption by the ICAO council.

A lot more progress needs to be made regarding aviation emissions and their regulation. However, it is positive to note that efforts are being made to provide clarity and guidance to the industry.