Governments have been urged to put in place “large-scale” incentives to encourage the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) by airlines association IATA, during its annual general meeting in Doha.
IATA said that the use of SAF would play a leading part in the industry’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with sustainable fuel set to account for 65 per cent of aviation’s carbon mitigation in the next 30 years.
This would require the creation of 449 billion litres of SAF around the world – currently annual SAF production is only at 125 million litres a year with investment set to increase this to 5 billion litres annually by 2025. IATA added that “effective government initiatives” would boost production to 30 billion litres per year by 2030.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said: “Incentives to transition electricity production to renewable sources like solar or wind worked. As a result, clean energy solutions are now cheap and widely available.
“With similar incentives for SAF, we could see 30 billion litres available by 2030. Though still far from where we need to be, it would be a clear tipping point towards our net zero ambition of ample SAF quantities at affordable prices.”
IATA praised the US for introducing “heavy government incentives” for SAF production, but criticised Europe as the “example not to follow” because of the EU insisting on SAF being used at every airport across member states.
“Under its Fit for 55 initiative, the EU is planning to mandate that airlines uplift 5 per cent SAF at every European airport by 2030,” added IATA. “Decentralising production will delay the development of economies of scale and forcing the land transport of SAF will reduce the environmental benefit of using SAF.”
SAF has been in the spotlight at IATA’s AGM this week, with American Express Global Business Travel announcing a partnership with energy giant Shell and Accenture to create the Avelia “book-and-claim” platform allowing corporate clients to purchase the fuel.