IATA welcomes aviation decarbonisation conference agreements, but demands States act

IATA director-general Willie Walsh

IATA director-general Willie Walsh

15th December 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global representative body for the airline industry, has welcomed the outcomes of the intergovernmental International Civil Aviation Organisation’s third Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3), which was held in Dubai.

CAAF/3 is intended to advance the decarbonisation of aviation. IATA, however, also highlights that governments have to put the necessary policies in place to support the large-scale and worldwide production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

“Governments have understood the critical role of SAF to achieve net-zero [carbon] emissions by 2050,” noted IATA director- general Willie Walsh. “The CAAF/3 results in a vision on the shorter, 2030, time horizon that is ambitious. To that end, the CAAF/3 agreement signals to the world in no uncertain terms the need for policies that enable real progress. There is no time to lose. IATA now expects governments to urgently put the strongest possible policies in place to unlock the full potential of a global SAF market with an exponential increase in production.”

CAAF/3 agreed an interim target of ensuring that aviation fuel would be, by 2030, 5% less carbon intensive than the conventional jet fuels used today. To achieve this, it was also agreed to create a global framework to expand SAF production in all regions of the world.

The conference also recognised that some States would be able to move faster than others. To ensure that all countries could participate in a global SAF market, it was further agreed that capacity building would be required, a ‘Finvest Hub’ created and voluntary technology transfer encouraged.

And the need for a robust global SAF accounting framework was recognised. This would be essential to allow the creation of a global SAF market and permit airlines to claim their SAF purchases against their decarbonisation obligations.

“The goal is maximising SAF production everywhere with positive, not punitive, policy measures,” affirmed IATA senior VP for sustainability and chief economist Marie Owens Thomsen. “Airlines are ready with open arms to catch the resulting SAF production. While airlines are at the sharp end of decarbonisation, they cannot bear the burden alone. CAAF/3 has again made it clear that aviation’s decarbonisation will require the whole-hearted and united efforts of the entire value chain and governments as we all focus on net zero by 2050. To be perfectly clear, where government money leads, private money will follow. It is absolutely essential that governments play their part, and we will certainly play ours.”

IATA urged governments to enable SAF producers to be able to use locally available feedstocks to the fullest possible extent. Further, governments should drive SAF uptake through positive and not punitive policies. They should also balance their actual and potential support policies across different sources of energy and ensure that SAF producers had a fair share of renewable energy. And governments should recognise that achieving energy transformation and net-zero emissions in aviation was a collective responsibility.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor




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