The Principle

In the EU ETS 82% of the allowances are granted for free to aircraft operators, 15% are auctioned and the remaining 3% is held in a special reserve for new entrants or growing aircraft operator.

Free allocation is based on benchmark (in phase III, 0.6422 allowances per 1,000 tonne-kilometres flown). By 28 February of each year, the competent authority of the administering Member States shall issue to each aircraft operator the number of allowances (European Aviation Allowances (EUAAs)) allocated to that aircraft operator for that year.

More information can be found on the website of the European Commission.

Allocation to existing aircraft operators

Up to now, more than 900 aircraft operators who applied for free allocation by reporting their verified tonne-km data for 2010 received free allocation. Following Regulation (EU) No 421/2014, amending the EU ETS directive, aircraft operators shall be issued a number of free allowances reduced in proportion to the reduction of surrender obligation.

Information on allocation to aircraft operators in Belgium for 2013 to 2016 can be found in the « Arrêté du Gouvernement wallon du 17 Novembre 2011 fixant les quotas d’émission de gaz à effet de serre alloués à titre gratuit aux exploitants d’aéronef pour la période 2012 et la période 2013-2020« 

New entrants and growing operators

New aircraft operators and fast growing existing operator may apply for free aviation allowances from the special reserve until the 30th June 2015. Concretely new operators starting aviation activities covered by the directive after 31st December 2010 and existing operators with an average increase in their tkm data by more than 18% annually between 2010 and 2014 can apply for free allowances by submitting their verified 2014 tkm data no later than 30th  June  2015.


The deadline for submission of tkm plans to the Walloon Air and Climate Agency (AwAC) for approval is September 1st 2013. The approval process of tkm plans must be completed in 2013 in order to have an approved tkm plan ready for data collection in 2014.

However aviation activities which in whole or in part are a continuation of an aviation activity previously performed by another aircraft operator are not eligible for allocation of free allowances from the special reserve.

First allocation of allowances for new entrants and growing operators will take place in 2017 after the processing of applications in all EU member states and the calculation of the new benchmark by the European Commission. Following the Directive the new allocation benchmark will be equal to, or lower than, the previous benchmark from last allocation round.

For data collection in 2014 a new and approved tkm plan is required. Existing Aircraft operators who apply based on an increase of activity shall also specify:

  • the percentage increase in TKM between 2010 and 2014;
  • the absolute growth in TKM in the same period;
  • the absolute growth in TKM in that period above the annual 18% (on average) threshold.

In Wallonia tkm and monitoring plans are to be delivered in the web-based application called ETSWAP.