ICAO Council takes key step in CORSIA implementation

Geneva, 27 June 2018 – The aviation industry today congratulated the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for delivering a key step in the implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), a world-first mechanism that will help offset the growth of international aviation CO2 from 2020. It is part of a package of measures including technology, sustainable aviation fuel, operational and infrastructure advances to continue to reduce the sector’s carbon emissions.

Michael Gill, Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), said: “The ICAO Council today adopted a comprehensive set of standards and recommended practices which set the detailed requirements for the implementation of CORSIA. This now allows Governments and industry to make final preparations for implementation before the CO2 emissions monitoring and reporting obligations commence in January 2019. The ICAO Council is to be commended for their fast progress on this important technical work.”

ATAG has been working with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) to prepare aircraft operators as the January 2019 deadline draws nearer. Fourteen workshops have been undertaken so far, with at least nine further sessions scheduled in the next few months to help operators prepare emissions monitoring plans, a crucial first stage in the process of implementation.

Gill also pushed ICAO to quickly turn to the additional decisions required to operationalise CORSIA’s carbon offsetting provisions, which are set to take effect in 2021: “Whilst we are very happy with the significant progress that has been made at ICAO so far, there are still a number of decisions and steps that must be taken. The establishment of the Technical Advisory Board to determine the types of offsets that can be used to comply with CORSIA must be given high priority. We would also like to see the Council agree to the full set of sustainability criteria for new aviation fuels.

“The most urgent focus is the need for capacity building to ensure governments are ready to provide their oversight role as aircraft operators prepare to comply with CORSIA. As the industry moves ahead with our preparations, governments around the world will also need to put in place the necessary reporting and oversight processes. We call on the ICAO Secretariat to redouble its ongoing capacity building efforts for their member States and encourage fast progress in this area.”

In addition to re-endorsing sustainable aviation fuel from renewable sources, the ICAO Council also agreed to allow for ‘lower carbon conventional fuels’ to be recognised through CORSIA if those fuels meet a set of criteria including a 10% or greater reduction in lifecycle CO2 emissions. Gill said: “The industry remains committed to the development of sustainable aviation fuel. It is conceivable that conventional fuels could be delivered with reduced CO2 lifecycle emissions, but we are firmly of the view that our long-term needs for sustainable fuels will have to be met through non-fossil sources and these should be the focus of research, development and funding.”

The standards and recommended practices agreed today confirm the details that will be used to comply with the scheme. They provide technical rules on how airlines and governments must measure and report emissions. From 1 January 2019, all airlines which fly international routes will need to measure and report their CO2 emissions to States and these will form part of a baseline of CO2 emissions for CORSIA. From 2021, airlines will need to start offsetting the growth in emissions from the routes between States which have volunteered to participate in CORSIA.