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Carbon Emissions – It’s that time again!

So, when was the last time you determined your annual carbon (CO2) emissions for flights to/from and within Europe? 

In 2023, the gates flew wide open as business aircraft operators took off to the races reengaging their business interests abroad, especially in Europe. In doing so, corporate flight departments may find themselves having exceeded annual CO2 emissions thresholds, which will incur regulatory obligations for those flights subject to reporting.

European Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS)

Currently, there coexist three comparable, but distinct, cap-and-trade carbon emissions trading schemes, or programs, within Europe.

For corporate flight operators who conduct just a few international trans-Atlantic or trans-continental crossings to/from Europe each year, they are likely to stay below exemption thresholds and not have to account for their CO2 emissions.

However, if your flight department approaches a dozen or more international crossings each year, you very well may be close to or exceeding CO2 thresholds, consequently incurring emissions reporting obligations.

Flight Pro offers a service to help you definitively determine where you stand in regards to the thresholds for all three of the following:

EU ETS — Flights within the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), as well as flights to Switzerland and the UK, continue to be covered within scope of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Flights between the EU’s outermost regions will also continue to be included.

Swiss ETSFlights that are within the scope of Switzerland’s Emissions Trading Scheme (Swiss ETS) include Swiss domestic flights and flights from Switzerland to the EU/EEA. Fortunately, since January 2020, the Swiss ETS has been linked with EU ETS – simplifying reporting and emissions reporting obligations.

UK ETSSince BREXIT, the United Kingdom has maintained their commitment to capping greenhouse gas emissions and implemented their own separate United Kingdom’s Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS). Flights in scope of UK ETS include UK domestic flights, flights between the UK and Gibraltar, and flights from the UK to the EAA.


For private (non-commercial) operators, exemption status applies if

  • the emissions from your full-scope flights are less than 1,000 tCO2 per year, or
  • you have not performed a flight that has to be reported under the one of the ETS programs (an aviation activity). 

Full-scope refers to flights to/from and within the EU/EEA, Switzerland, and the UK.

For commercial operators, exemption status applies if

  • you perform fewer than 243 full-scope flights per phase of three consecutive four-month periods (Jan-Apr; May-Aug; Sept-Dec), or
  • full-scope flights with total annual emissions lower than 10,000 tCO2 per year, or
  • you have not performed a flight that has to be reported under one of the ETS programs (an aviation activity).

Flight Pro Internationals Emissions Service Solutions

At Flight Pro International (FPI), our mission is to become an extension of your flight department.

Our Regulatory Compliance Staff have developed a collaborative three-tier solution, which provides elevated levels of services to match the needs for your current or forecasted carbon emissions compliance obligations. 

Think of each tier as a service “step” that can be added if needed, so you only pay for the services you need:

Tier-1 services — FPI Compliance staff monitor and analyze your Eurocontrol ETS Support Facility Data, which provides the relative data for all the EU/EEA ETS, Swiss ETS, and UK ETS programs, to assess and determine if you will have any C02 emissions reporting obligations. If you do exceed exemption thresholds, then we move onto the next service level.

Tier -2 services — FPI Compliance staff will file required Annual Emission Reports in timely fashion, verify compliance commitments are met, and ensure that your compliance statuses are accurately reflected within the various European ETS programs.

Tier-3 services — This option is for aircraft operators who need assistance with the management of their Aircraft Operator Holding Accounts (aka: Registry Accounts). These registries are like online banking systems which holds accounts for operators regulated under the emission trading systems.  Instead of money, these registries hold carbon allowances. Our compliance staff will take on and share the time-conscious oversight and administrative responsibilities; ensuring that the deposits, transfers, and surrendering of carbon allowances are done well in advance of compliance deadlines.

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For help with carbon emissions concerns and/or consultation on important regulatory and international compliance requirements, and to learn more about FPI’s other Special Services Network (SSN) teams, please contact our Regulatory Compliance staff here at Flight Pro International.

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