IATA sets sustainable fuel aim on anniversary of first SAF-blend flight

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
Comment on this article

IATA has set out an aim for one billion passengers to fly on flights powered by a blend of jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2025.

This objective was set on the tenth anniversary of the first flight to blend sustainable aviation fuel and ordinary jet fuel: a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747, which flew from London to Amsterdam on February 24, 2008, with sustainable aviation fuel in one of its engines.

"The momentum for sustainable aviation fuels is now unstoppable. From one flight in 2008, we passed the threshold of 100,000 flights in 2017, and we expect to hit one million flights during 2020,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “But that is still just a drop in the ocean compared to what we want to achieve. We want one billion passengers to have flown on a SAF-blend flight by 2025. That won’t be easy to achieve. We need governments to set a framework to incentivise production of SAF and ensure it is as attractive to produce as automotive biofuels.”

A flight powered entirely by sustainable fuel has the potential to reduce the carbon emissions of that flight by up to 80%. The drive to increase uptake of SAF is driven by the industry’s commitment to cut net carbon emissions by 50% compared to 2005 – and to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020.

Airlines including Cathay Pacific, FedEx Express, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Qantas, and United, have already made significant investments by purchasing 1.5bn gallons of SAF, while airports in Oslo, Stockholm, Brisbane and Los Angeles are already mixing SAF with the general fuel supply.

If current uptake rates continue, it is anticipated that half a billion passengers will have flown on a SAF-blend powered flight by 2025. With the help of governments, however, the sustainable fuel industry could increase its production, which would make the one-billion-passengers benchmark more attainable. Helpful changes could include allowing SAF to compete with automotive biofuels through equal incentives; loan guarantees and capital grants for production facilities.

De Juniac concluded on the importance of promoting only truly sustainable sources for alternative fuels, saying: "The airline industry is clear, united and adamant that we will never use a sustainable fuel that upsets the ecological balance of the planet or depletes its natural resources."

This material is protected by The Airports Publishing Network Ltd copyright see Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact alwyn@groundhandling.com


Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code