EU Emissions Trading Scheme – Aircraft Operators

Directive 2003/87/EC as amended by Directive 2008/101/EC requires aircraft operators that perform flights which depart from or arrive at an aerodrome situated in the territory of a Member State of the European Union to comply with requirements under the EU ETS, unless exempted pursuant to the criteria set out in the Directive.

Scope – Annex I to the EU ETS Directive.

If you are an aircraft operator, you can determine whether your organisation falls within the scope of the EU ETS on the basis of Annex I to the EU ETS Directive.  Detailed guidance on interpreting Annex I in so far as it relates to aviation activities may be found in Decision 2009/450/EC.

The Directive provides for one EU Member State to be responsible for administering each aircraft operator participating in the EU ETS.  Maltais the administering MemberStatein respect of:

a)  an aircraft operator with a valid operating licence granted by the civil aviation authorities of Malta (Civil Aviation Directorate – Transport Malta);


b)  an operator that either holds an operating licence issued by a state that is not an EU Member State or that does not require an operating licence to perform aviation activities, and for whomMaltahas been identified as being the EU Member State with the greatest attributed emissions from flights performed by that aircraft operator in the base year.  For an aircraft operator that started operating to/from the European Union after 1 January 2006, the base year is the first calendar year of operation; for an operator that started operations in the Community before 1 January 2006, the base year is the calendar year starting on 1 January 2006.

The European Commission publishes, on an annual basis, a list of aircraft operators which operated an activity listed in Annex I on or after 1 January 2006, specifying the administering Member State for each aircraft operator.

It is important to note however, that if your organization is not on the list it does not necessarily mean that your organization does not fall within scope of the EU ETS.  If you are not on the list but do perform an aviation activity as listed in Annex I, then you are required to meet all relevant obligations set out by the EU ETS Directive. Always check with the competent authority if you are in doubt whether your organization falls within the scope of the EU ETS.

Allocation process – auctioning and benchmarking

The total quantity of allowances – the cap on emissions – available for all aviation operators falling within scope of the system is determined according to modalities set out in the Directive.

For the period 2013 – 2020, the cap shall be equivalent to 95% of the average of the annual emissions in 2004, 2005 and 2006 from aircraft performing an aviation activity listed in Annex I. After 2020, the cap of aviation allowances shall be subject to the same linear reduction factor as applies to the cap of general allowances.

Allocation of allowances to aircraft operators is partly free on the basis of benchmarking and partly through auctioning (15% of total allowances will be auctioned for the periods 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012 and for the period commencing 1 January 2013).

Free allocations for eligible aircraft operators administered by Malta for the years 2017 to 2023 shall be thus:








Air Malta plc

177 402

177 402

177 402

177 402

173 499

169 596

165 693

Comlux Malta Ltd








VistaJet Ltd








Entitlements of international credits for the years 2008-2020

Article 11a of Directive 2003/87/EC, as implemented through Commission Regulation (EU) No 1123/2013, provides for the determination and publication of international credit entitlements for the period 2008-2020 for aircraft operators falling within the scope of the EU ETS.
Consult with the competent authority to check the eligibility for international credits entitlement of your organization.

Monitoring of tonne-km and annual emissions data

If you are an aircraft operator falling within scope of the EU ETS and intend to apply for free allowances (from the special reserve), you are required to have a tonne-kilometre data monitoring plan which is approved by the Competent Authority.

If you are an aircraft operator performing Annex I activities, it is then mandatory to have an approved monitoring plan for annual emissions.

As from 2013, the monitoring rules provided for in by Regulation (EU) 601/2012 on the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC apply.

Please consult the competent authority regarding the templates for the submission of monitoring plans.

Guidance documents on monitoring and reporting:

Common EU guidance on monitoring and reporting may be found in this link.

Reporting of tonne-kilometre data and annual emissions

If you are an aircraft operator that intends to apply for free allowances, you will be required to submit a report containing tonne-kilometre data for the relevant monitoring year.  Please consult the competent authority regarding the template for the reporting of tonne-km data.

Directive 2003/87/EC provides for an obligation for aircraft operators falling within scope of the EU ETS to annually submit verified emissions reports – the deadline for submission of each (calendar) year’s report is 31 March of the following year.  Please consult the competent authority regarding the template for the reporting of annual emissions data.

Reports shall also be verified by a competent, independent, accredited verifier before being submitted to the Competent Authority.  Verification of reports and accreditation of verifiers is regulated by Regulation (EU) 600/2012 on the verification of greenhouse gas emission reports and tonne-kilometre reports and the accreditation of verifiers pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC. A verification report issued by the verifier must accompany the emissions report when this is submitted to the Competent Authority.  Please contact the competent authority regarding the verification report template to be used.

Guidance documents on verification and accreditation:

Common EU guidance on verification and accreditation may be found in this link.

Accounting for emissions

For information on accounting of emissions and the registry system, please click on this link.


The International Civil Aviation Organization is implementing a global market-based measure, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) for emissions from international flights. The Malta Resources Authority is the competent authority for the implementation of CORSIA in Malta. General information on CORSIA and ETS/CORSIA MRV implementation may be found in the following presentations:


Contacting the competent authority:

For further information on matters relating to the EU ETS and ICAO CORSIA, you may contact MRA at: