The European Parliament voted in favour of including aviation emissions in the EU's emission trading scheme (EU ETS) as of 2012 in a plenary vote on 8 July. The move was immediately criticised by the aviation industry as well as the United States.

The deal, based on an agreement between the Council and Parliament on 26 June (EurActiv 27/06/08), would require all flights, both within the EU as well as international ones arriving or leaving the bloc, to participate in the Union's carbon cap-and-trade scheme from 2012. 

Other main points included in the deal are:

  • Emissions reduction targets will be based on average annual emissions between 2004-06 and will be cut by 3% in 2012, and then by 5% from 2013 onwards (this could be subject to change as part of a general review of the ETS in the future). 
  • 85% of emissions allowances will be allocated to airlines for free with 15% to be auctioned off. 
  • EU to look for an international agreement on curbing aviation emissions, including a bilateral agreement with the US. 
  • Airline operators who persistently fail to comply with the scheme could be banned from the EU if a member state asks for this. 
  • Exemptions from the aviation ETS will cover:  
    • light aeroplanes under 5.7 tonnes
    • humanitarian and UN mandated planes 
    • firefighting and emergency planes 
    • police, customs and military planes
    • planes on research missions
    • small airline companies with low emissions 

The use of the revenues received from the auctioning process will be determined by the member states, although the deal says they should go towards funding R&D on 'clean aircraft', anti-deforestation measures in the developing world and general climate change alleviation projects. 

Flights carrying government officials and royalty have been included in the scheme. 

The costs of placing the aviation industry in the ETS will be beared by the customer, meaning air ticket hikes of €5 to €40 by 2020 depending on the length of the flight, according to an impact assessment report from the Commission.