Emissions trading scheme

European Union emissions trading scheme

In 2008 the European Union (EU) decided to incorporate emissions from flights that take off or land at airports in the European Economic Area (EEA, EU member states, plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) as of 2012 into the European emissions trading scheme (EU ETS). This means that, with effect from 2012, aircraft operators are in principle required to issue emission allowances for all flights that take off and land in the EEA. They are allocated free of charge a portion of the emission allowances based on the number of tonne-kilometres recorded in 2010. From 2012 until the end of 2016, the obligation to participate in the EU ETS was restricted to flights within the EEA (stop-the-clock regulation). The EU thus waited for the development announced by the ICAO of a global measure. In 2017 the EU decided to extend the restriction of the EU ETS to flights within the EEA until 31 December 2023.


Linking the emission trading schemes

The Confederation is of the opinion that the aviation sector should also contribute to the effort to reduce global warming. Therefore, Switzerland has signed the agreement on linking the two emissions trading schemes (ETS) in November 2017. As the EU ETS already integrates emissions from the aviation sector since 2012, Switzerland has also planned to integrate aviation emissions into its own scheme after the two systems have become formally linked.  The necessary amendments to the current CO2 Act were adopted by the Swiss Parliament in the autumn 2018 session. The ratification of the linking Agreement between Switzerland and the European Commission took place on 6 December 2019. This agreement enters into force on 1 January 2020. Swiss civil aviation is thus included in the Swiss ETS from that date.


Collection of tonnes-kilometer data and emissions data

In order to prepare the integration of civil aviation into the Swiss ETS, tonne-kilometre data are required for calculating the quantity of emission allowances to be allocated to the individual aircraft operators free of charge, as well as for the initial calculation of the Swiss cap for civil aviation (i.e. the maximum available quantity of emission allowances). The Ordinance on the Acquisition and Reporting of Tonne-Kilometre Data Relating to Distances Covered by Aircraft entered into force on 1 July 2017. Data acquisition took place from 1 January to 31 December 2018. From 1 January 2020, aircraft operators will have to collect and report their CO2 emissions annually based on a monitoring plan submitted in 2019 and approved by the federal government. Further information is available on the websites of the European Commission and the Federal Office for the Environment.


Further information

Specialist staff
Last modification 12.12.2019

Top of page