Airline industry urged to prepare for monitoring carbon emissions as CORSIA nears adoption
Tue 5 June 2018 – With less than seven months before CO2 monitoring requirements under ICAO’s CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme come into force, the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) has reminded airlines and business aircraft operators of the urgent need to prepare. Although the voluntary pilot phase doesn’t start until 2021, all operators with international services – regardless of whether the country the operator is registered has agreed to join from the start – must start monitoring their CO2 emissions from 1 January 2019. A major reason for this is so a baseline of global emissions from international flights can be established for future carbon offsetting obligations. A lower baseline, which is fixed until the end of the scheme in 2035, as a result of a failure by operators to report emissions could lead to higher offsetting costs for the industry as a whole.
Speaking at the IATA annual general meeting in Sydney, ATAG Executive Director Michael Gill said: “We can be proud that the aviation sector has promoted and developed the world’s first sectoral climate change mechanism with CORSIA, but we also need to comply with it. From 1 January next year, all operators with international services must start monitoring and reporting their emissions. In fact, even before the end of this year, it is recommended that airlines have a monitoring plan in place.”
Gill reported ATAG had been working closely with IATA and the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) to help operators prepare for implementation.
“So far this year we have held 16 regional workshops and global webinars with over 200 airlines taking part. Another seven hands-on workshops will take place over the summer. In addition, a suite of tools is available to help operators meet their obligations under CORSIA. I am confident that the industry will be ready to play its role in making CORSIA a success and contributing to our broader climate action plan.”
He said there was a misconception by some that only those airlines based in countries that have volunteered to participate in the early phases of CORSIA were required to take action.
“We encourage all airlines to make sure that they assign a focal point in their organisation for CORSIA compliance and they are receiving all the information they need from their respective associations,” he said.
Gill called on governments around the world to speed up their preparations as well, a message echoed by IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac in his state-of-the-industry address at the AGM on Monday.
“The commitment to sustainability must be shared by governments,” he told delegates. “The 73 governments already signed on to CORSIA cover 88% of aviation. We want more to join – ideally 100% coverage. It’s not just about signing up. Under the leadership of ICAO, governments agreed to CORSIA as a universal measure to address aviation’s carbon footprint. They must put all their efforts into honouring that commitment with a successful implementation.”
ICAO’s 36-State governing Council starts its 214th Session next week in Montreal that will consider responses from all Member States to the draft CORSIA Implementation Package. As well as policy and guidance material, the Package contains the all-important Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for CORSIA, the mandatory rule-book that is expected to be adopted by the Council during the three-week Session. Following a final letter to all States on the adoption, States have until September to approve or disapprove the CORSIA SARPs and until November to file differences. The SARPs then become applicable from 1 January 2019.
Of ICAO’s 192 Member States, it is understood 103 have responded to the draft Package, with 64 providing no comments. Of the remaining 39 replies, 21 States – mainly from Europe and also the United States – supported the proposed elements of the Package as drafted but conditional on there being no subsequent revisions proposed to the main issues. The other 18 States provided comments, with some dissent, on those main issues which relate to the mandatory nature of CORSIA, sustainable aviation fuels and the eligibility of emissions units.