The first allowances for 2012 were allocated on Tuesday to aircraft operators that have completed the registration process, according to a statement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
More than 4.9 million EU aviation allowances (EUAAs) have been issued to three of the 230-plus airlines regulated by the UK out of a total of over 56 million expected to be allocated this year.
The names of the three airlines to receive allowances will not be released until DECC has consulted with the Environment Agency over potential commercial confidentiality issues.
The UK government says it will continue to issue allowances to aircraft operators as they complete the registration process.
British Airways is expected to receive over 10 million permits, or around 18% of the UK’s total allocation of EUAAs, which easyJet and Virgin Atlantic are expected to be allocated more than 3 million allowances each.
However, more than 20 countries including US, China, Russia and India remain opposed to the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS and have pledged a raft of retaliatory measures.