Business Aviation, Smaller Airlines Face Specter of Inaccurate Emissions Data

 - June 26, 2010, 5:51 AM

Smaller European airlines have been warned that inaccurate monitoring of aircraft emissions data could cost them €1 million ($1.23 million) over the first reporting cycle for the new emissions trading scheme (ETS), spanning 2012 to 2020. The warning from ETS support specialist ETS Aviation comes as smaller operators, including business aircraft operators, are faced with the possibility of using Eurocontrol’s ETS support facility, which appears to offer a simple means of calculating emissions without the need to enlist the help of outside consultants. But ETS Aviation has warned that the Eurocontrol tool, which would draw data from the air traffic management agency’s central flow management unit, might not be accurate enough to ensure that operators were correctly logging their actual emissions.

The danger of not ensuring accurate emissions calculations is that operators could end up paying more than they need to buy European Union allowances (EUAs) for carbon emissions to cover their emissions or may not get the correct allocation of free carbon credits. According to ETS Aviation, the average cost of an EUA is at least €30 ($37) per metric ton. This is equivalent to about €100 ($123) per flight hour for a business jet or €300 ($370) for a medium-sized airliner. On this basis, an operator with six aircraft emitting 150,000 metric tons of CO2 per year with an annual EUA bill of €4.5 million ($5.5 million) could lose up to €1 million ($1.23 million) over the first nine years of ETS if its emissions reporting were inaccurate by even 1 to 2 percent. The errors could also result in fines and additional auditing costs.

ETS Aviation claims that its Aviation Footprinter software provides a more reliable way to record and calculate emissions. The company has now linked Aviation Footprinter to Computer Technologies for Aviation’s Flight Operation System to harvest ETS data for operators using this operations management tool. “The system error checks and flags possible erroneous flight data as well as allowing easy editing to fix inconsistencies,” said ETS Aviation CEO David Carlisle.