Germany grants airlines emissions trading scheme extension

Washington DC
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Germany has become the second European Union member to postpone airlines' first emissions trading deadline following the UK.

Airlines flying into EU airports are required to submit their emissions monitoring, reporting and verification plans to their assigned administering country by 31 August as the EU plans to fold aviation into its emissions trading scheme (ETS) from 2012.

The delay comes as the European Commission has yet to issue finalised administering assignments. The final list had been expected in June or July.

Germany is assuming that the EC will publish a finalised list this month, so it intends to publish its list in the German Federal Bulletin in August, says Hans-Jürgen Nantke, head of the German Emissions Trading Authority at the Federal Environment Agency.

Carriers assigned to Germany will now have six weeks after the administering list is published to provide their monitoring plans to Germany's Federal Environment Agency.

US Airways, Delta Air Lines and cargo operators Atlas Air and UPS are likely to report to Germany based on a tentative list published in February.

Last month the UK announced it would give airlines three additional months to register and submit their plans from the time the EC finalises administering assignments due to delays in its validation of the Eurocontrol ETS Support Facility to track fuel burn.

The majority of airlines - 750 or so operators - are likely to be subject to the UK's jurisdiction, including Air Canada, American Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines.

However, the UK says it remains "committed to including aviation in the EU ETS from 2012" despite the lag.

While the Air Transport Association of America says postponements by Germany and the UK were warranted, its vice-president of environmental affairs Nancy Young would nevertheless like more detail as to how the delays will affect other ETS deadlines. Young contends that all deadlines should be extended in proportion to the first delays.

Airlines are required to begin tracking their emissions from January 2010 in accordance with the monitoring plans they submit this year.

Flight International has been told by a senior source at the EC that regulators are likely to maintain the January 2010 deadline.

It is also unclear if other EU nations plan to follow Germany and the UK in offering similar extensions.

Young says French officials told an ATA member airline last week that the French government will maintain the 31 August deadline.

She is also concerned that Italy has not identified which of its agencies will administer the ETS.

FedEx Express has been tentatively delegated to France and the preliminary list also shows that Delta subsidiary Northwest Airlines would file to the Netherlands, but it is unclear how last year's merger of Delta and Northwest will affect submission requirements by those carriers.