UK CORSIA Workshop

A Summary by Colin Gill, Deputy Director of Civil Aviation, Isle of Man Civil Aviation Administration.

On 11th July I attended workshop about CORSIA which was jointly provided by the UK Department for Transport and Environment Agency. CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) is the new ICAO emissions monitoring, reporting and offsetting process. The aim of this blog is to pass on our understanding of these new international obligations and potential next steps. 

As of 29 June 2018, 72 States, representing 75.95​% of international aviation activity, intend to participate in the CORSIA pilot phase. This will expect aeroplane operators in these States to submit an Emissions Monitoring Plan (EMP) and to monitor and report their emissions from 1st January 2019 until 31st December 2020, after which operators will start to collect offsetting obligations for any emissions above the 2020 baseline. The UK has committed to this pilot phase.

However, first and foremost it’s important to understand that CORSIA:

  • Does not apply to any helicopters.
  • Does not apply to any aeroplanes with a MTOM below 5,700 kg.
  • Only applies to international flights.
  • Does apply to owners/operators of aeroplanes with a MTOM of 5,700 kg or greater which emit a combined total of at least 10,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions from their international flights per year. The key point here is that this is a measure of total emissions by the aeroplane owner/operator. (Note that I will come onto the meaning of ‘owner/operator’ in the context of CORSIA below).

So, the situation as we understand it is as follows:

  • If you are the owner/operator of a single aeroplane that has a MTOM of for example 6,000 kg and this emits only 8,000 metric tonnes of CO2 on international flights per year, you are not in scope of CORSIA.
  • However, if you are the owner/operator of 2 aeroplanes that each have a MTOM of 6,000 kg and each emits 8,000 metric tonnes of CO2 on international flights per year – you are in scope of CORSIA as the aeroplane owner/operator is emitting more than 10,000 metric tonnes of CO2.

(At the workshop it was stated that as a guide 4 million litres of fuel are approximately equal to 10,000 metric tonnes of CO2).

The second major point that I took away from the workshop was that ICAO Annex 16 Vol IV specifies how the attribution of a specific international flight to an aeroplane owner/operator is to be determined. Aircraft registered in the Isle of Man are only allowed to operate for private/corporate purposes; consequently, the new ICAO provisions result in an international flight by an Isle of Man registered aeroplane being (quote): “attributed to the aeroplane owner who is then considered to be the aeroplane operator for the purposes of CORSIA”. Therefore, from here on any reference that I make in my blog to “aeroplane operator” is made only in this CORSIA context as published in ICAO Annex 16 Vol IV text and for clarity I will use the text: “[CORSIA] aeroplane operator”.

ICAO Annex 16 Vol IV specifies that the CORSIA Scheme is administered by the State where the [CORSIA] aeroplane operator: “is registered as juridical person, or, where the [CORSIA] aeroplane operator is a natural person, the State of residence and registration of this person”.  This is different to the content of our Industry Notice 26 which was issued when our understanding had been that all aeroplanes registered in the Isle of Man would be administered for CORSIA purposes by the UK Environment Agency. 

So, if the [CORSIA] aeroplane operator is a company registered in or a natural person resident in the UK or any of the UK Overseas Territories (OT) or Crown Dependencies (CD), the UK Department for Transport are requesting that you submit a CORSIA EMP to the UK Environment Agency by 30 September 2018 ([email protected]) who will also be able to provide further guidance. We were also advised that operators that currently submit EU ETS information to the UK Environment Agency will be informed when the “ETSWAP” is available for CORSIA submissions.

However, if the [CORSIA] aeroplane operator is a company registered in or a natural person resident located in a State other than the UK or a UK OT/CD, the administrative body to whom you should submit an EMP is the respective authority specified for that State. This means that for those [CORSIA] aeroplane operators that also currently report under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), your administrative body for CORSIA is probably going to be the same as you currently use for the EU ETS.

The ICAO provisions only place requirements on contracting States and are not directly binding on the [CORSIA] aeroplane operator until they are enacted in national law.  Therefore our understanding is that ahead of any such national legislation the ICAO provisions are not legally enforceable on the [CORSIA] aeroplane operator and any actions are currently voluntary.

It was stated at the workshop that the EU ETS is expected to be updated to act as the legal framework for CORSIA in EU member states. The details are apparently not yet finalised but it was stated that for the monitoring, reporting and verification requirements, this may be completed through a Delegated Act towards the end of 2018.

The CORSIA CO2 Estimation and Report Tool (CERT) was also demonstrated and this appears to be a user friendly simple Excel based tool for [CORSIA] aeroplane operators to assess if they exceed the 10,000 metric tonnes of CO2 threshold. This tool is to be developed further during 2019 and can be used as a monitoring methodology by aeroplane operators that emit <500,000 metric tonnes of CO2 per annum, reducing from 2021 to those that emit <50,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, on routes with offset obligations.

I hope that this assists in further understanding the CORSIA requirements and processes. We will continue to communicate any updates or developments that we become aware of as part of our commitment to providing the very best support to our clients in industry.