When size really does matter

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Brussels could let smaller airlines follow the business aviation community's lead and bypass the complex monitoring and reporting rules before the European Union emissions trading scheme goes live.

This new fast-track system of monitoring and reporting carbon emissions relies on Eurocontrol's ETS Support Facility, a new simplified monitoring and reporting procedure adapted from the air navigation agency's Pagoda tool.

cessna-citation-x 
 © Max Kingsley-Jones/Flightglobal
Business aviation chiefs have won commitments from EC environment officials (image - Cessna Citation X)

This calculates emitted carbon dioxide based on precise traffic movement data already captured and could allow more emitters to escape the administrative burden involved in the full procedure.

European business aviation chiefs recently extracted commitments from European Commission environment officials that small emitters below an annual threshold of 10,000t of carbon dioxide - or operating fewer than 243 flights every three months - need only send their intention to their respective supervising national authorities, signalling that they will opt for a simplified procedure.

Various airline groups now want to follow suit and lift the qualifying threshold as high as the tool's accuracy will allow, permitting operations emitting up to 25,000t of CO2 a year to meet the fast-track criteria.

"Current indications are that accuracy should be between 2% and 5%, although the official accuracy level will not be released until the facility has been validated by the Commission's environment directorate," says the European Business Aviation Association. Some larger EBAA members emit at this higher level.

But until accuracy levels are known, it is advising annual emitters of more than 10,000t to assume the worst and comply with the full monitoring and reporting procedures.

"It is not clear whether operators using the simplified procedure would need an independent verification of the figures before submitting them, this will be clarified when the ETS Support Facility is validated," says the EBAA.

Business aviation chiefs have won commitments from EC environment officials