Washington D.C. - The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today said that European officials’ decision to continue exempting certain U.S. business aviation flights from the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) correctly reflects the need for a global aircraft emissions proposal, currently being developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The European Commission announced on Feb. 3 it would retain its policy of exempting non-EU operators from the EU-ETS for international flights to and from EU nations. (Flights within the EU will still need to comply with the EU-ETS). The scheme, as initially envisioned, would have applied to all aircraft operators to, from and within the EU, though – amidst significant, multinational opposition to such a framework, developed outside the ICAO process – full application of those requirements has been postponed several times.

In 2016, ICAO introduced an emissions proposal, the Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), addressing international aviation carbon emissions with a goal of capping international aviation emissions at 2020 levels. Contained in that proposal is a provision, strongly supported by NBAA and other member organizations within the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), which limits applicability of the ICAO’s plan only to operators producing more than 10,000 tons of carbon emissions, while operating internationally between countries participating in the plan.

“The small emitters exemption is an appropriate one, as it recognizes business aviation’s innovation and voluntary efforts to reduce aviation’s global carbo footprint,” said Ed Bolen, NBAA’s president and CEO, when the ICAO framework was unveiled. “We are early adopters of technology, and practices that inherently reduce carbon emissions. As a result, business aviation makes up only a small fraction of total aviation emissions.”

Voluntary compliance with CORSIA begins in 2021; its provisions will be continually developed, with industry input, before full implementation in 2027.

NBAA has long opposed the EU-ETS, given that, because aviation is global in nature, policies – including those regarding aircraft emissions – should be put forward by ICAO, the appropriate, international aviation-policymaking authority.