The administrative burden of complying with the confusing requirements of Europe’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) comes at a time when many operators are facing a severe downturn and revenue declines of as much as 30 to 40 percent. Nonetheless, Austria-based charter and aircraft management group Jetalliance opted to get on with this latest regulatory chore and has completed the registration process for its emissions monitoring, reporting and verification plan. This took about two or three months, with the assistance of specialist consultancy ETS Aviation (www.etsaviation.com).
Jetalliance currently operates 30 aircraft, including a mix of Cessna, Bombardier, Dassault, Gulfstream and Embraer types. In an interview with AIN, Karin Presslaber, the company’s director of special projects, outlined its experience of the ETS process to date.
What were the main difficulties that you found in registering your plan for monitoring, reporting and verification [MRV] of emissions?
There was a lack of communication from the authorities with far too few meetings provided by the European Commission or each member state’s responsible authority. Unfortunately the European Commission is too busy to answer questions within a reasonable time. Information regarding the requirements for the operator was provided too late. There were a lot of mistakes and uncertainties in the published operator list. For example, the guidelines say “if the aircraft operator has an AOC from a member state, this member state is the administering member state.”
Nevertheless one of our AOCs was allocated to the UK as the administrative state.
Some states offer electronic systems, where each operator can fill in its data, but other states only have Excel templates. There is no common procedure for everything. At the moment there is still no information about the exact procedures for getting free allocations (such as how many each operator will really get), or about the [ETS] certificates in general and the trading [in emissions], as well as procedures regarding registering [trading] accounts.
Meanwhile, the UK has delayed its deadline for submitting the MRV plan to November or even later. Why has this delay not been published by the European Commission and why is this new deadline not valid for all other operators from other member states? It seems that aircraft manufacturers and fuel companies have either not been informed at all about this new requirement or at least have been told too little. Both groups of companies are needed to prove the accuracy of the aircraft fuel consumption. Aircraft manufacturers, at least for business aircraft, have now started to investigate the accuracy level of the on-board fuel measurement system and have forwarded this information to operators. Regarding the fuel suppliers, we have still not received any information about how they will cope with the new regulations and what accuracy level they have on their fuel trucks. Apart from that we need to get the commitment of the fuel companies to provide the actual fuel density at each airport location. This information is not always provided by the supplier. Finally, there is still no proper information about verifier accreditations and exact verifying processes.
So it seems that Europe’s aviation authorities have not provided enough information about the implementation of ETS. If so, what further help should they provide?
The main problem is that aviation authorities are not responsible for ETS. Here in Austria, it is the Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. As a result of that the aviation authority is hardly informed about the new procedures. It would have been much better if the European Commission had allocated ETS to the aviation authorities from the beginning. We would expect a transparent, unique IT system that is used by all member states. It should provide all necessary and clear information and should give the operator the chance to submit its MRV plan online via this platform. There should also be a unique platform that gives the operator and verifier the opportunity to do at least part of the verification online and throughout the year, not only between January and March of each subsequent year.
How much of a burden will it be for Jetalliance when the ETS begins?
It will cost each operator a lot of money. Apart from that a lot of additional manpower will be needed to fulfill all requirements.
Who will pay the additional costs resulting from ETS? How much do you think this will add to the cost of operating?
Jetalliance is currently working on this strategy, but it will affect owners and charter clients.
Will ETS encourage Jetalliance to use new aircraft that burn less fuel?
Jetalliance is putting a lot of effort into using the best and most economical technology. We operate modern aircraft with an average age of just three to four years.
Do you think it is reasonable for business aircraft to be part of the ETS?
In general, yes.
Is there enough time for all operators to complete the ETS process according to the deadlines?
I think that not all operators will be able to complete their MRV on time due to lack of information and due to short preparation time