April 27, 2020
NBAA welcomes a new letter from the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommending that the baseline for a new ICAO emissions plan be adjusted now to take into account the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on worldwide air travel.
IBAC’s letter is in regard to ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). The plan, finalized in 2018, offers a roadmap for reducing carbon emissions from aviation. NBAA, IBAC and other industry groups successfully advocated for a “small emitter” exemption from CORSIA requirements for most of the business aviation community, in recognition of the industry’s small emissions footprint and continual reductions in aircraft emissions.
The CORSIA baseline, from which annual growth and future offsetting requirements will be calculated, was originally expected to be the average level of emissions between 2019 and 2020. This would be the basis for analyses of overall costs to aircraft operators over the planned phases of CORSIA (2021 to 2035). The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a significantly reduced level of international aviation emissions in 2020, which will lower drastically the CORSIA baseline, potentially making annual offsetting calculations much more costly to operators. These costs will compound the challenging recovery circumstances for the business aviation sector and be a long-lasting, undeserved penalty for the aviation sector as a whole.
IBAC Director General Kurt Edwards said, “IBAC has always advocated a fair and equitable market-based measure that compliments the overall set of emissions-reduction measures available. However, given the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, IBAC is concerned that a baseline average taken from 2019 and 2020 will reflect a highly anomalous circumstance inflicted on international aviation.”
Edwards continued, “Using only 2019 emissions levels as the baseline provides a simple solution to this serious problem and would represent a much smaller penalty to operators in terms of cost compared to a baseline taking into account the highly irregular traffic levels of 2020. Such a reasonable approach to CORSIA will contribute to ongoing efforts by the business aviation community to mitigate and reduce emissions.”
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen added the association’s support for the IBAC proposal, saying, “Using 2020 flight activity data, affected so significantly by the global COVID-19 crisis, to establish the CORSIA baseline for future offsetting calculations would create an unfair and disproportionate baseline average, resulting in much higher cost of compliance to operators. NBAA is an advocate of emissions-reductions measures but strongly encourages ICAO to use flight activity averages from 2019, which are more representative of typical air traffic, rather than to include flight activity from 2020, which has been so significantly impacted by the worldwide pandemic.”
IBAC is requesting that the ICAO Council favorably consider this proposal and reach a decision quickly to instill certainty and confidence in CORSIA.