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How Participation in CORSIA and the Carbon Market Will Affect Air Operators

International aviation accounts for 1.3% of global CO2 emissions [1]. Unlike domestic aviation, which is included in the Paris Agreement, international aviation is under the governance of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) [1]. In 2010, ICAO announced two sector-wide goals with the intent to produce sustainable growth across the industry: annual improvement in fuel efficiency by 2%, and carbon neutral growth from 2020 and beyond [1].


ICAO has selected specific methods by which the aviation industry will achieve carbon neutral growth. These include technological advancements, operational improvements, sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), and market-based measures[1]. As sustainable fuels are in the process of development, and improved fuel efficiency and operations can only reduce a small amount of CO2 emissions, ICAO has established a market-based measure known as CORSIA to offset the aviation emissions which cannot yet be reduced.

CORSIA Is a Sectoral Scheme Dedicated to Offsetting International Aviation Emissions, and Compliance Will Soon Be Mandatory


The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is the first market-based mechanism to exist for a global sector [2]. Between 2021 and 2026, participation in CORSIA will be voluntary [3]. As of March 2022, 108 member states [3] (including Canada and the United States) have volunteered to take part in the early phases of the scheme [4]. In 2027 [3], when the mandatory phase of the scheme begins, all countries must participate with limited exceptions [5].

CORSIA operates as part of the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM). Any aeroplane operator whose annual CO2 emissions exceed the determined baseline will be required to offset those additional emissions through the purchase of carbon credits [6]. One carbon credit (also known as an emissions unit) represents one tonne of CO2 that has already been reduced through an eligible project [1]. Therefore, the number of CO2 emissions an air operator must offset is equal to the amount of carbon credits that operator will purchase through the carbon market. This will effectively “balance out” the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, achieving carbon neutral growth.

Air Operators Will Pay Increasingly More for Carbon Credits as the Aviation Industry Rebounds from the Covid-19 Pandemic

As Covid-19 becomes endemic and the aviation industry recovers from its 60% downturn in 2020, air traffic is expected to surpass its pre-pandemic status [7]. The resulting increase in CO2 emissions will then need to be offset through carbon credits, the value of which is anticipated to grow exponentially [8].

"Between 2021 and 2035, an estimated $40 billion will be dedicated to CORSIA across the aviation industry [9]."


The voluntary carbon market saw historical growth in 2021, surpassing a record-breaking $1 billion USD in transactions [10]. CORSIA eligible offsets are contributing to this market surge, so far as attracting investors and customers who are under no obligation to CORSIA but who want the financial advantage of owning carbon credits with strong capital appreciation [11].

Depending on which types of offsets remain as eligible emissions units in the VCM, carbon credits could surpass $200/tonCO2 by 2030 [12]. The climate commitments from companies and countries worldwide will drive this extreme market growth, with steep prices reflecting the lack of eligible offset projects and the high demand for carbon credits.

It’s Time for Aeroplane Operators to Invest in Their Own Carbon Removal Systems

To lessen the financial strain of buying carbon credits, airlines and other corporations are investing in Direct Air Capture (DAC) projects. Through enhanced DAC technology, Exhale Aerosystems is making it possible for air operators to directly participate in carbon removal and help to generate high quality carbon credits.

"Exhale Aerosystems will benefit air operators both environmentally and financially, helping operators meet relevant climate goals within their organization while directly removing CO2 from the atmosphere."

By installing carbon removal systems (CRS) onboard transport category aeroplanes, air operators can capture and store CO2 while in flight. Through our solution, an estimated 1 Mt of CO2 emissions can be removed from the atmosphere each year by the global aircraft fleet, with the potential to match and exceed the carbon capture abilities of large DAC plants.


Exhale Aerosystems' CRS will benefit air operators both environmentally and financially, helping operators meet relevant climate goals within their organization while directly removing CO2 from the atmosphere.


1. ICAO - The International Civil Aviation Organization. 2016. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) [Internet]. [cited 2022 Mar 4]. Available from:

2. – Global Aviation Emissions Compliance. 2018. Corsia Compliance [Internet]. [cited 2022 Mar 4]. Available from:

3. Aviation. Carbon Market Watch; c2017. [accessed 2021 Nov 22].

4. CORSIA Newsletter – September 2021. Montreal (QC): ICAO; c2021. [accessed 2021 Nov 16].

5. ICAO - The International Civil Aviation Organization. 2017. ICAO CORSIA Implementation [Internet]. [cited 2022 Mar 4]. Available from:

6. Carbon Market Watch. 2019. Carbon markets 101: the ultimate guide to global offsetting mechanisms [Internet]. Carbon Market Watch; [cited 2022 Mar 4]. Available from:

7. Josephs J. 14 Sep 2021. Boeing says air travel to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024. British Broadcasting Corporation. [Internet] [cited 2022 Mar 7]. Available from:

8. Edwardes-Evans H. 16 Dec 2020. S&P Global Platts to publish first voluntary carbon credit price assessments. S&P Global. [Internet] [cited 14 Mar 2022]. Available from:

9. Aviation Benefits Beyond Borders. Aug 2019. Fact Sheet #6: Understanding CORSIA [Internet]. Air Transport Action Group; [cited 2022 Mar 4]. Available from:

10. Carbon Streaming: voluntary credits. Toronto (ON): Carbon Streaming Corporation; c2022 [ accessed 7 Mar 2022].

11. IETA - International Emissions Trading Association. 2021. 2021 Greenhouse Gas Market Report [Internet]. IETA; [cited 14 Mar 2022]. Available from:

12. BloombergNEF. 10 Jan 2022. Carbon offset prices could increase fifty-fold by 2050. BloombergNEF. [Internet] [cited 14 Mar 2022]. Available from:


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