On April 04, 2018

Introduction to CORSIA: What is it and how to prepare?

From 2019 onwards, airlines need to monitor their CO2 emissions for international flights.
Are you still feeling unclear about what CORSIA is and how you should prepare? Time to get more familiar with it!


This introduction to CORSIA is the first of several articles which will explain in more details:


The environmental impact of aviation

According to the most recent IPCC figures, civil aviation represents 2% of global CO2 emissions from human activity. The aviation sector has a responsibility to balance its continual growth alongside its impact on climate change, as it is one of the most energy and carbon intensive forms of transport.

The objective is to reduce aviation net CO2 emissions to 50% of 2005 emissions by 2050.

To effectively reach this goal, the aviation industry needs to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5% annually until 2020, and then stabilize the CO2 emission from 2020 onwards.



Source: IATA, Technology Roadmap 


To stabilize the CO2 emissions, with a growing air traffic passenger demand (between 5 and 8% since 2010), the aviation industry relies on a four-pillar strategy for climate change:

  • Technology improvements such as engine performance or biofuels
  • Operational improvements such as fuel efficiency software
  • Infrastructure improvements such as more efficient airport infrastructures
  • Market-based measure which is CORSIA

What is CORSIA?

CORSIA stands for Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. It is the first global scheme covering an entire industrial sector.


CORSIA was adopted by ICAO in October 2016 as one of the four pillars used to reduce aviation net CO2 emissions.

It is a market-based measure, where airlines will compensate the global CO2 emissions of international flights by purchasing carbon offsets. A carbon offset is a credit for carbon reductions made by one party that can be purchased to compensate the emissions generated by another party.


The aim of this global measure is to simplify the monitoring and offsetting of carbon emissions by having only one international measure that airlines need to comply with.


How will CORSIA work?

CORSIA is a route-based approach, to ensure fairness between airlines on a same route

ICAO presents a set of rules containing methods of calculation, reporting rules, but each state will have to implement CORSIA into their own regulation. 
Some states will not be participating in CORSIA, if their international traffic is relatively low or for socio-economical reasons. We’ll go into details on that in the next article.

CORSIA will define a baseline, calculated from the 2019 and 2020 emissions on international routes. When CORSIA’s offsetting stage starts (See our future blog article: When do you need to report), all emissions over this baseline will have to be offset. This will enable to reach the goal of stabilizing the CO2 emissions.


What does it mean for airlines?

Airlines will need to monitor ALL their civil international flights (even if they are from and to states that are not participating). But they will need to offset emissions only for flights between participating states:

  • Reporting scope: ALL international civil flights
  • Offsetting scope: Covered route (routes between participating states)


Source: ICAO “CORSIA Implementation Plan” 


In our next blog articles dedicated to CORSIA, you’ll learn more about:


In the meantime, watch this video to know more about CORSIA implementation:



By Cécile

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