The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the world’s governments to provide better incentives to increase the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), make those fuels available at more affordable prices and increase cargo availability for airlines.
During IATA’s Global Financial Symposium 2022, held in Qatar, industry representatives analyzed the main challenges for the aerospace sector for the long term. Among them, environmental protection was deemed vital to continue efforts toward an adequate development of the industry.
The Symposium sought to focus on the zero emissions commitment, as IATA indicates that SAFs will account for 65 percent of the entire carbon mitigation in 2050. To meet the total demand, the annual production capacity must oscillate around 449 billion liters. Currently, investments are being destined to expand annual SAF production from 125 million liters to 5 billion by 2025, according to IATA.
“Clean energy solutions are now cheap and available. With similar incentives for SAF, we could see 30 billion liters by 2030,” said Willie Walsh, CEO, IATA.
Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, explained that the airline would purchase more SAF if prices were more reasonable and if there would be greater cargo availability. Price competition severely affects SAF, as kerosene can be bought three times cheaper.
“Politicians like taxes, but all the evidence says that taxes do nothing for the environment. In addition, the money obtained through taxes on airlines disappears into the coffers of the government and is not used specifically to reduce carbon,” said Walsh in this regard.
Most CO2 emissions are generated by long-distance flights, which is a market currently dominated by airplanes and offers few other alternatives. Walsh added that taxes will not drive passengers to other modes of transportation, as connectivity would be extremely affected for a minimal environmental gain.
Aviation sector executives concluded that the main concern in the aviation industry continues to be sustainability. However, to adequately tackle all challenges involving sustainability, major investments must be made in new aircraft and new technologies. Financing continues to be a major problem for airlines, as “myopic” government regulations continue to impede investments for sustainable solutions.