South Korean Airlines to Report Annual CO2 Emissions Under New Law

SEOUL - Starting later this year, South Korean airlines will be mandated to report their annual carbon dioxide emissions to the government, following the passage of a related bill last week, as stated by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The National Assembly approved the "international aviation emission bill" on Thursday, aiming to align with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

According to Yonhap News Agency, CORSIA, established in 2016 by the member states of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), requires most airlines to monitor their CO2 emissions from 2019 and purchase emission reduction units from carbon projects in other sectors to offset any increase in emissions above 2019 levels starting from 2021. This scheme will become mandatory for all applicable carriers starting in 2027, with South Korean airlines already reporting their emissions annually to both the ministry and ICAO under the agreement.

The newly passed domestic law introduces penalties, including fines, for airlines that do not manage to keep their emissions at or below 2019 levels. The requirement applies to airlines operating at least one aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 5.7 tons or more and annual CO2 emissions exceeding 10,000 tons. In Korea, eight carriers, including Korean Air Co., Asiana Airlines Inc., Jeju Air Co., Air Busan Co., Jin Air Co., T'way Air, Air Incheon Co., and Air Seoul, Inc., fall under this mandate.

In anticipation of the stricter emissions regulations, Korean Air has started using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for its cargo flights from September, and Asiana Airlines Inc. has entered into an agreement with Shell for the supply of SAF starting in 2026. Meanwhile, low-cost carriers are transitioning to more fuel-efficient next-generation aircraft, such as the B737-8 and the A321neo jets, to meet the new standards.

The local emissions law is slated to come into effect in August, pending approval at an upcoming Cabinet meeting, as further detailed by a ministry official.

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