The EESC notes that, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, aviation CO2 emissions declined in 2020 by 64% compared with 2019. According to a forecast by EUROCONTROL underpinning the Commission's proposal, the traffic volume is not expected to reach 2019 levels before 2024. The ICAO Council decided in July 2020 that the 2019 emissions should be used as the baseline for calculating the offsettingby airlines for the years 2021-2022. In accordance with the proposed amendment to Directive 2003/87/EC, Member States should be obliged to report offsets, as required by international law, in 2022 for 2021, even though the emissions increase in 2021 relative to 2019 is expected to be negligible, if not even zero.
The EESC therefore endorses the Commission's proposal to amend Directive 2003/87/EC with respect to the notification of offsetting in 2021. The amendment should be adopted without delay to achieve legal certainty. The Committee recommends envisaging a prolongation of the changed baseline until the average passenger numbers are at the levels of 2019, at least for the years 2022 and 2023; these are the years during which the recovery is currently expected to take place. Otherwise aircraft operators would be obliged to offset emissions although they fly less and generate fewer emissions than during the reference year.
CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) is one element of a package of measures designed to mitigate the impact of aviation on the environment. The EESC encourages the Commission to review all regulatory proposals relevant to aviation in the Fit for 55 package of its Green Deal policy with a view to establishing the interdependency of the proposals in order to assess their cumulative financial impact, and to align the respective procedures.