Asia-Pacific airlines aim for 5% green fuel usage by 2030 | Mint
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Business News/ Industry / Asia-Pacific airlines aim for 5% green fuel usage by 2030
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Asia-Pacific airlines aim for 5% green fuel usage by 2030

Aviation contributes 3% of global carbon emissions.

The 5% SAF usage goal is a collective target for AAPA's 14 member airlines, including newly inducted Air India. (File Photo: AP)Premium
The 5% SAF usage goal is a collective target for AAPA's 14 member airlines, including newly inducted Air India. (File Photo: AP)

The Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has set a target for its members to adopt 5% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) usage by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions, signalling demand to fuel producers. 

The decision was announced at the association's 67th assembly of presidents, highlighting challenges such as limited SAF availability and cost.

“The industry is stressing that our position is feedstock and pathway agnostic. We have fossil fuels which can only be tapped in certain parts of the world whereas feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel is available everywhere in the form of waste, agricultural and forestry residues. We need oil majors to provide the transition and governments to provide necessary framework in the form of subsidies and incentives," AAPA director general Subhas Menon said.

The 5% SAF usage goal is a collective target for AAPA's 14 member airlines, including newly inducted Air India. 

In May, India's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas disclosed intentions to mandate 1% SAF use by domestic carriers by 2025. Earlier, the civil aviation ministry had also stated its plans to increase the blending of sustainable aviation fuel to 2% by 2026, and 5% by 2030.

However, a mandate for airlines may not work well until the supply is ensured, Menon said.

“EU (European Union) has mandates. What’s the point of mandates when there is no supply of SAF? Mandates don’t make any sense at the present moment in time, so we need to focus on the supply side. Everyone says it’s a chicken and egg situation, I don’t think so. Airlines are taking up all the fuel there is available at the moment, unfortunately, it is just too little," Menon added.

In addition, member airlines also highlighted the need for a policy framework which will reduce the price differential between jet fuel and green fuel.

“A level-playing field is extremely important for all of us. Cathay-Pacific is one of the first airlines in Asia to commit to 10% SAF usage by 2030. We want to do the right thing but we don’t want to be penalized because that is so much more expensive than fossil jet fuel," Grace Cheung, general manager sustainability, Cathay Pacific, said.

India has seen a few SAF demonstration flights, with SpiceJet conducting a flight in 2018 using 75% aviation turbine fuel blended with 25% biojet fuel. Tata group airlines had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSIR–IIP in September last year to collaborate on research, development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels. In May 2023, AirAsia India, now part of Air India Express, operated the country’s first domestic commercial passenger flight with SAF blending up to 1%.

Aviation contributes 3% of global carbon emissions. In 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization set a carbon-neutral growth target from 2019 and a net-zero emissions goal by 2050. 

SAF production hit approximately 300 million ltr in 2022, but currently represents only 0.1% of total aviation fuel use, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The reporter is in Singapore at the invitation of Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines.

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Published: 10 Nov 2023, 06:12 PM IST
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