The production of sustainable aviation fuel currently represents less than 1 percent of what is required in the sector. This despite the accelerating pace of production, says Khaled Al-Issawi, director of the Gulf and Near East Region at the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Production and use tripled during this year compared to last year which led to increased investments in sustainable fuel. Airlines have also committed to purchasing whatever quantities are available in the market.
Government support is required
Speaking to Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the 3rd ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels, Al-Issawi said, “The growth of sustainable aviation fuel production requires government support.”
Encouraging investment in this vital sector, and investing in human resources are also key for growth.
He highlighted that “the currently available levels of sustainable aviation fuel do not support the required demand. Production is unable to meet demand and prices are high.”
“The most promising development so far is consensus among the main players in this field, whether it’s airlines, government agencies, or producing entities. Thus, this could lead to the required supply” he added.
Regarding the aviation sector’s demand to reach the goal of zero emissions by 2050, he said, “The quantity required then will be about 500 million tons.”
Anticipating ICAO conference results
Al-Issawi stressed, “The importance of the 3rd ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels is the focus on sustainable aviation fuel.” He underscored importance of sustainable aviation fuel as the basic foundation for the aviation sector to reach its net zero-emissions target by 2050.”
He explained, “The path to zero emissions depends on alternative fuels by more than 65 percent. The world is looking forward to the results of the conference.” He expressed hope that the industry will be able “to reach supply levels that achieve the desired goal, which depends on increasing levels of sustainable aviation fuel production.”
Increase in air traffic
Al-Issawi noted that air traffic around the world has regained more than 97 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, it is closer to 100 percent in the Middle East region with some countries even exceeding 2019 levels.
Additionally, he expects growth in travel traffic to continue during the next year. Regarding Emirates, he indicated that it has exceeded pre-pandemic levels by large proportions.
When it comes to airline profitability, Al-Issawi stated that it will be positive during the current year at the global level. Recovery has been rapid in most markets. Notably, profits were limited last year, however, this year will witness a noticeable improvement.
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