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CORSIA Looming, But Many Business Aircraft Operators Exempted

Jan. 10, 2018

Business aircraft operators that regularly fly overseas should be aware of an upcoming environmental impact policy aimed at curbing global international aviation emissions, though most NBAA members will be exempt from the plan's requirement to purchase carbon offsets.

Adopted last year by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for implementation from 2020, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is aimed at capping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels. International operators emitting more than 10,000 metric tons of CO2 annually on flights between approximately 74 participating countries will be required to purchase carbon credits to offset growth above 2020 levels for compliance with the CORSIA mandate.

However, an exemption supported by NBAA and other organizations through the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) means that "small emitters" that fall under that threshold will not be subject to CORSIA requirements.

Doug Carr, NBAA's vice president for regulatory and international affairs, cited estimates that many current-generation business jet fleets would need to fly a combined 2,000 hours or more annually in international operations, or purchase approximately 1 million gallons of fuel, to reach the 10,000-metric-ton threshold. Currently, flights operated within the U.S. do not count toward the threshold, which applies only to flights on routes between the participating countries.

"In total, we estimate that fewer than 100 operators in North America will be affected by CORSIA," said Carr. "That said, all operators with frequent international operations should begin tracking their international emissions now, if they don't already do so."

To determine CORSIA applicability, operators will need to establish a baseline fleet-emissions level by averaging their total CO2 emissions on international flights between participating countries. Required data points include flights on a given date and between international city pairs, time en route and total fuel burned.

ICAO is also developing a free CO2 Estimation and Reporting Tool (CERT) that will enable operators, free of charge, to enter their flight information details to calculate the total fuel burn per year based on arrival and departure airports in CORSIA-participating states, great circle routes, and time aloft.

Aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds maximum takeoff weight, and flights conducted for humanitarian purposes such as medevac, disaster relief or firefighting are also excluded from CORSIA's carbon-offset requirement.

IBAC recently announced plans to provide CORSIA presentations and workshops at upcoming business aviation events, including: the NBAA Regional Forum in West Palm Beach, FL on Jan. 24; at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2018), which takes place May 29-31 in Geneva, Switzerland and the Canadian Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition, June 12-14 in Ontario, Canada.