Airlines for America Applauds ICAO Decision on CORSIA

July 2, 2020

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2020 – Airlines for America (A4A) – the industry trade organization representing the leading U.S. airlines – today applauded the decision of the Governing Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to use verified 2019 CO2 emissions data in calculating the baseline for the 2021-2023 “pilot phase” of ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and to conduct analyses to support having the 193-country ICAO Assembly consider maintaining the baseline at 2019 emissions levels for the later phases of the offsetting system when the Assembly convenes in 2022. CORSIA is a global market-based mechanism designed to complement aviation industry advances in technology, operations, infrastructure and sustainable aviation fuels to enable carbon-neutral growth in international air travel starting in 2021. Using the 2019 data will ensure that international aviation emissions are capped at the aggressive level countries intended when they entered the CORSIA agreement in 2016.

When CORSIA was conceived, the plan was to set the baseline using an average of verified 2019 and 2020 CO2 emissions data, with analyses projecting 2020 emissions to be higher than 2019 emissions. The purpose of a two-year baseline for this global program was to account for small market disruptions such as air traffic closures due to a volcanic eruption in a particular region. However, as the ICAO Council noted in its decision, the ICAO Member States never envisioned a disruption anywhere near as significant as that caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ICAO Council’s decision to use 2019 data ensures that international aviation CO2 emissions will not exceed 2019 levels, which ICAO has confirmed to be less than 2 percent of global manmade CO2 emissions.

U.S. airlines transported 2.5 million passengers and 58,000 tons of cargo per day in 2019 while contributing just 2 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. They improved their fuel efficiency by 40 percent since 2000, and they are helping to lead the fight against climate change with a myriad of measures including developing sustainable alternative jet fuels, investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft and operating them in more efficient ways.

A4A and our members reaffirm our commitment to protecting the planet as we work through the COVID-19 crisis to reconnect it. CORSIA and our longer-term commitment to a 50 percent net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 relative to 2005 levels are an important part of that.

To learn more about the U.S. airline industry’s commitment to the environment, please visit