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IATA calls on EU to support transition to sustainable aviation fuel

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has asked the European Union (EU) to support the aviation industry’s energy transition to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), as part of the EU’s Green Deal.

“Aviation has high hopes for the European Commission’s Green Deal,” commented Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA. “We want to be part of Europe’s building of a new energy economy and we will do everything we can to make sustainable aviation fuels a priority for aviation in Europe and around the world.

“Taxes are a politician’s way out. They are easy to put in place and make it look like action is being taken. It requires more time and more effort to put in place a package of measures that can actually reduce emissions in the long-term. But if designed correctly, they will advance sustainability much more than a blunt tax ever could.”

Since SAF was certified for use in commercial operations in 2009, over 215,000 flights have been fuelled with a blend of low-carbon fuel. The industry believes that achieving 2% of global jet fuel from non-fossil sources by 2025 could create a tipping point for the production and cost of SAF.

Around the globe, there are currently 14 production facilities in operation, under construction or in the final stages of financing and planning, which will help the industry to reach its 2% goal.

The aviation industry has been highlighted as a priority area for sustainable liquid fuels: ““Electrification of road vehicles is tried, tested, scalable and on the market today. Aviation should be a policy priority because it does not have a near-term electrification option,” said de Juniac.

Traditional energy suppliers should also prioritise investment in SAF. “The major oil companies have the expertise, the distribution networks and – importantly – the financial power to make a real difference,” added de Juniac. “I call on them to make this an absolute priority, helping to underpin global connectivity for future generations by making sustainable aviation fuels a commercial reality.”