Reallocation to other Member States of UK-administered airlines within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Posted in Transport

Since the EU extended its emissions trading scheme (ETS) to include aviation in 2008, the UK has held a significant role in the scheme. When the first list of aircraft operators covered by the scheme was published in 2009, the UK was allocated as the administrator of over 270 aircraft operators, more than a quarter of the total, including most of the large US, Middle Eastern and Asian airlines. The significance of the inclusion of many of these non-EU carriers waned following the implementation of the EU’s “Stop The Clock” Derogation, which restricted the EU ETS to intra-EEA flights that many will never operate.

Regulation 2019/225, published by the EU Commission in February 2019, specifies which EU Member States the aircraft operators currently administered by the UK will be reallocated to in the event that the UK leaves the EU with ‘no deal’.

In October 2018 the UK government announced that the UK will be excluded from participating in the EU ETS in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

In December 2018 the EU Commission issued a Notice to Stakeholders confirming that, with effect from the withdrawal date in the event of ‘no deal’, the “Stop The Clock” derogation from the EU ETS for flights to and from airports located in non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries will apply to flights between the UK and the EEA. This has the consequence that flights within the UK and flights from the UK to the EEA and vice versa will no longer be covered by the EU ETS.

It also means that the UK will no longer act as EU ETS administrator for the UK- and non-EEA operators for whom it is currently responsible. If those aircraft operators operate intra-EEA flights after the withdrawal date and therefore continue to fall within the scope of the EU ETS, these requirements must be administered by an EU Member State.

On 6 February 2019 the EU Commission published Regulations 2019/225 and 2019/226.

Regulation 2019/226 is ‘business as usual’, and attaches the latest annual list of aircraft operators which fall within the EU ETS scheme, updated based on the latest data provided by Eurocontrol. The list still includes the UK as an EU ETS administering state responsible for a list of specified airlines (including the main UK airlines).

However Regulation 2019/225 applies in a ‘no deal’ scenario, specifying which EU Member States the aircraft operators currently administered by the UK will be reallocated to.

In a ‘no deal’ scenario, the currently UK-administered operators will be distributed broadly across a variety of EU Member States, from France, Germany and Ireland down to smaller countries such as Hungary, Greece and Malta.

With respect to the UK carriers, to the extent that those airlines fly intra-EEA flights, British Airways would be administered by Italy and easyJet, and Flybe would be administered by Spain. Flybmi would be administered by Belgium, Wizz Air UK by Romania and the UK cargo operator, Cargologicair Ltd, by Germany.

While it remains on the list under Regulation 2019/226, Virgin Atlantic is not listed in the ‘no deal’ Regulation 2019/225.

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