Surrendering obligation

By the 30th April of each year, an aircraft operator must surrender allowances or credits equivalent to its emissions. The aircraft operator can use either:  European Aviation Allowances (EUAAs) or European Allowances (EUAs) or credits from the Kyoto Protocol mechanism.

Allowances received for free

Aircraft operators may receive free European Aviation Allowances (EUAAs). See allocation section. They can use these EUAAs each to comply with the obligation of surrendering.

Allowances purchased

An aircraft operator can either purchase allowances European Aviation Allowances (EUAAs) or European Allowances (EUAs) on the secondary market or through auctioning. They can be used to comply with the surrendering obligation.

Two auction platforms are in place. The first one is the European Energy Exchange (EEX). It is the common platform for the majority of countries participating in the EU ETS.

Germany, Poland, and UK decided to appoint their auction platform.

  • EEX is also Germany’s auction platform
  • EEX is also Poland’s auction platform (in the absence of an opt-out auction platform having been listed),
  • ICE Futures Europe (ICE) in London is the UK’s auction platform.

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



Credits: Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) and Emission Reductions Units (ERUs) from the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms (respectively the Clean Development mechanism and the Joint Implementations) can be used for compliance.

The directive article 11a §8, foresees that aircraft operators shall be able to use credits up to an amount corresponding to a percentage, which shall not be set below 1.5%, of their verified emissions during the period from 2013 to 2020. The Regulation on determining International Credits Entitlements article 1 §5 confirmed this figure of 1.5% of its verified emissions. Therefore, from 2013 to 2016 this entitlement will be 1.5% of verified emissions according to the intra-EEA scope.

However be aware that restrictions apply on the type of credits that can be used. More information can be found on this webpage.


Any aircraft operator who does not surrender sufficient allowances by 30 April of each year to cover its emissions during the preceding year shall be held liable for the payment of an excess emissions penalty of EUR 100 (it shall increase in accordance with the European index of consumer prices) for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted for which the aircraft operator has not surrendered allowances. Payment of the excess emissions penalty shall not release the aircraft operator from the obligation to surrender an amount of allowances equal to those excess emissions when surrendering allowances in relation to the following calendar year.

In the event that an aircraft operator fails to comply with the requirements of this directive and where other enforcement measures have failed to ensure compliance, its administering Member State may request the Commission to decide on the imposition of an operating ban on the aircraft concerned.