Explained: The ICAO CORSIA Scheme

Explained: The ICAO CORSIA Scheme

DALLAS — The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a global market-based measure (MBM) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by commercial aviation.

CORSIA was adopted at the 39th Assembly of ICAO in 2016. The scheme is the first global initiative implemented by ICAO to address climate change. Its background, objectives, mechanisms, issues, steps, and possibilities are discussed in this post.

By Alinor at en.wikipedia - Own work (Original text: I (Alinor (talk)) created this work entirely by myself.),
ICAO headquarters. Photo: Alinor at en. Wikipedia – Own work CC BY-SA 4.0


Aviation accounts for 2.4% of global CO2 emissions. Though it is a small number compared to other forms of land transportation, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of air passengers is expected to double by 2040, and the demand for air transport is projected to increase by 3.7% per year.

In response to this challenge, ICAO developed a global MBM called CORSIA, which aims to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onward and reduce the aviation sector’s carbon footprint.

CORSIA is part of ICAO’s basket of measures, which includes technology development, operational improvements, and alternative fuels.

By ICAO - Corsia Brochure, Public Domain,
By ICAO – Corsia Brochure, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=97207882


The primary objective of CORSIA is to limit the growth of net aviation CO2 emissions to 2020 levels. The scheme is voluntary in the first phase (2021-2023) and mandatory for most states in the second phase (2024-2035). The goal of CORSIA is to achieve a collective emission reduction of 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2040.

The specific objectives of CORSIA are:

  1. To achieve carbon-neutral growth in international aviation from 2020 onwards: It aims to stabilize the net carbon emissions of international aviation at 2020 levels by offsetting any emissions that exceed these levels.
  2. To reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation sector: CORSIA aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation sector by promoting the use of more fuel-efficient aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels, and low-carbon technologies.
  3. To encourage global cooperation and collaboration: The scheme aims to encourage global cooperation and collaboration by establishing a common framework for carbon offsetting and reducing emissions from international aviation.
  4. To promote sustainable development: The initiative aims to promote sustainable development by providing financial incentives for the development of sustainable aviation fuels and low-carbon technologies, as well as by contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  5. To support the Paris Agreement on climate change: CORSIA aims to support the Paris Agreement on climate change by contributing to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the goal of limiting global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

By achieving these objectives, CORSIA aims to contribute to the global effort to mitigate climate change, while also promoting the sustainable development of the aviation sector.

To keep reading, subscribe today and you'll never miss our exclusive content. Airways Premium Members get full access to incisive articles and analyses from aviation experts and industry insiders.

Subscribe Now!

Feature Image: Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 | Photo: Noah Pitkin/Airways

Aircraft maintenance engineering graduate and Aviation enthusiast with more than four years of experience in running a successful aviation startup.

You cannot copy content of this page