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SAF key to achieving emissions targets

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ABU DHABI UAE, 26 May 2023: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) calls on governments worldwide to “get serious” on incentivising Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production and set ambitious targets to produce adequate quantities.

Without meaningful quantities of SAF, the global tourism body says the aviation sector cannot decarbonise on a scale that will allow it to reach Net Zero by 2050, as committed to by the industry and supported by ICAO member states.

Julia Simpson.

The aviation industry expects to reach net zero carbon emissions by adopting the following measures.

Deliver the maximum reduction in emissions at source through SAF and innovative new propulsion technologies like hydrogen and electric.
Deploy modern fuel-efficient aircraft fleets.
Achieve operational efficiency improvements (in air navigation, for example).
Adopt out-of-sector solutions such as offsetting or carbon capture.

SAF is expected to deliver most greenhouse gas reductions needed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Unfortunately, SAF production rates are insufficient to meet demand, and prices remain high, despite the recent exponential increase in production.

The time for action is now. Without SAF, governments will struggle to meet their climate goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement and their commitments to economic growth, which relies heavily on aviation for tourism, trade, and connectivity.

What governments should do

Provide strong incentives to encourage investment in SAF production, including tax credits, grants or other financial incentives.
Work with the sector to set ambitious SAF production targets.
Coordinate their actions through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the specialised UN agency for aviation, to ensure global uniformity in SAF regulations, sustainability standards, procedures, and organisation.

WTTC President & CEO Julia Simpson said: “It is time for governments to take bold action and prioritise the production of sustainable aviation fuel. We are calling on all governments to act now.

“The demand for SAF has never been higher. Airlines worldwide want to use SAF and have used every molecule ever made. However, current SAF production only meets 0.1% to 0.15% of the requirement, despite a 200% increase in production in 2022 vs 2021. This leaves a massive gap that can only be filled through rapid and sustained investment.

“At today’s prices, SAF is three to five times more expensive than traditional fossil fuels. Governments must address this cost disparity by providing financial support and incentives to make SAF more accessible and affordable. Without those targets and those incentives, the sector cannot decarbonise.

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