On Friday, the European Parliament voted in plenary to adopt a large part of the Committee on Transport and Tourism’s report to increase the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and support airlines in their climate efforts.
The vote concerned four main areas: classification of sustainable aviation fuel and use of feedstock, blending targets, supply flexibility mechanisms and a single European market for SAF. The results of the vote are welcomed by Europe’s Airlines (A4E) as they represent a step forward towards uniform measures across the Union, something airlines asked for during the Connecting Europe Days, to facilitate their effort of reaching net zero by 2050.
A4E welcomes the efforts made by the European Parliament to ensure that SAFs can be a reliable and legitimate way to help decarbonise air transport. By explicitly excluding certain feed and food crop-based fuels, for example fuels made from palm fatty acid distillates (PFAD), intermediate crops and palm or soy-derived distillates, MEPs have further instilled legitimacy in the SAF system.
Passengers can now trust that the ramp up of sustainable fuels in the coming years will not occur at the expense of food supplies for people or animals, nor damage our environment. The success of the ReFuel EU Regulation initiative will reside in its capacity to bring predictability and legitimacy in sustainable aviation fuels.
A great and concrete step towards further decarbonisation of the aviation sector. Now, it is key that SAF becomes the new normal and more affordable. Let’s secure all this in the next phase: trilogues.Jeroen Hardenbol, Director European Affairs at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Like many other elements of the Fit for 55 package, A4E airlines continue to be concerned that future legislation will price out certain passengers or peripheral regions of Europe, leading to a loss of their air connectivity as well as impact the competitiveness of European aviation and its tourism sector.
Because SAFs, and especially e-fuels, will remain significantly more expensive than conventional jet fuel in the coming years, it is key that targets remain reasonable and that policymakers work to limit the cost of the energy transition for passengers. Mechanisms such as a system of SAF allowances through the Emissions Trading System will help bridge the price gap between SAF and conventional fuels, but risk falling short if not designed to offset the full loss of competitiveness and potential carbon leakage.
A4E welcomes the European Parliament’s decision to consider the possible introduction of a flexibility mechanism to supply SAF in a cost-efficient way across the Union in the spirit of a book and claim system. Such a system would avoid unnecessary logistics and bureaucracy and could ensure the creation of an efficient supply chain for SAF across the Union.
A4E also welcomes the European Parliament’s defence for the single market. Once in place, the European SAF mandate should supplant national mandates and harmonise all relevant legislation in order to avoid fragmentation of the single aviation market in Europe.