Emissions trading scheme: acquisition of aviation data in 2018

Bern, 02.06.2017 - The integration of greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector into the emissions trading scheme (ETS) is a necessary step in order to link the Swiss and European schemes. At its session on 2 June 2017 the Federal Council approved the Ordinance governing the acquisition and reporting of data from the aviation sector. In line with the intention of the European Union, it is only domestic flights in Switzerland or flights from Switzerland to member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) that are concerned.

The agreement on linking the two emissions trading schemes (ETS) has been initialed by Switzerland and the European Union (EU) in January 2016. Once it has been signed and ratified by both parties, it will enable Swiss companies to access a larger market and benefit from the same competition conditions as its EU counterparts. The EU ETS integrated emissions from the aviation sector in 2012, and Switzerland plans to integrate aviation emissions into its own scheme after the two systems have become formally linked. The necessary amendments to the existing CO2 Act were submitted for consultation at the end of August 2016 together with Switzerland’s future climate policy.

In order to determine the maximum quantity of available emission allowances for the aviation sector in the Swiss ETS and the number of emission allowances to be allocated free of charge to aircraft operators (companies or private individuals), the data have to be collected in the form of tonne-kilometres, i.e. the flown distance multiplied by the payload. The Ordinance approved by the Federal Council specifies how the tonne-kilometres have to be calculated.

The European Commission intends to prolong the existing regulation, in which only those flights within the EEA (i.e. the EU, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) are integrated into the EU ETS. In line with this intention, the Ordinance will only apply to domestic flights and to flights from Switzerland to an EEA member state. Special provisions apply for the binational Basel-Mulhouse Airport. Around 120 aircraft operators are concerned, of which around a hundred foreign and a dozen Swiss operators are already included in the EU ETS. The procedure will be new for a small number of Swiss operators.

The Ordinance on the Acquisition and Reporting of Tonne-Kilometre Data Relating to Distances Covered by Aircraft will enter into force on 1 July 2017. Data acquisition will take place from 1 January to 31 December 2018.