Initiative launched to encourage adoption of sustainable jet fuels by business aviation
(photo: EBACE 2018)
Fri 1 June 2018 – The business aviation sector has come together to raise awareness and encourage adoption by business aircraft owners, operators and fuel suppliers of sustainable alternative jet fuels (SJAF). At the centre of the initiative is a guide to explain and promote the benefits of such fuels that has been put together by a coalition of the sector’s trade associations. It was released this week at the EBACE event in Geneva when industry leaders signed a commitment to redouble efforts to reduce their sector’s environmental footprint and in particular to focus on SJAF development and uptake. The ‘Business Aviation Guide to the Use of Sustainable Aviation Jet Fuel’ explains the science behind the fuels, why they are safe to use in business jets and why operators should adopt them.
“I am proud to formally announce our industry is now ready to fly with ASTM-approved, drop-in sustainable alternative jet fuels,” David Coleal, President of Bombardier Business Aircraft and head of the environment committee of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), told a media luncheon at Europe’s premier business aviation show. “We want to dispel the myths around SAJF and make it better understood to increase its adoption rate. The guide will educate on the use and benefits of SAJF, and provide technical information on sourcing and flying with alternative fuels. It also provides background on the development and approvals process of SAJF and sharing the science behind the safety aspect, which is our industry’s top priority.”
He said SAJF would be an important factor in reaching the aviation industry’s goal of a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 but acknowledged that as well as opportunities, there were hurdles to overcome. “Limited production, lack of awareness, infrastructure challenges and the economics have combined to impede the widespread adoption of this fuel,” he said.
“We recognise there is more work to do ahead and in the coming months we will ‘walk the talk’,” he added and said pilot programmes would take place to demonstrate the viability of alternative fuels at selected business aviation airports.
Ed Bolen, President of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), said: “Through announcing this initiative, we want to remind the world that business aviation is committed to environmental sustainability.”
The aviation industry, he noted, had come to together in 2009 to set aspirational goals that included becoming carbon neutral from the 2020s through a four-pillar strategy that included carbon offsetting and developing new technologies.
“The sooner we can get moving on new technologies like SAJF, the sooner we can move off carbon offsetting,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the European Commission’s Claudia Fusco pointed out that ICAO forecasts indicated aviation emissions could increase 300-700% by 2050 and technical innovations had helped but not kept pace with the industry’s emissions growth.
“We need the aviation sector’s help in achieving environmental sustainability and meeting the global climate commitments of the Paris Agreement,” she said. “The EU is committed to minimising the dependence on fossil fuels for energy, and alternative fuels are one of the possible solutions, but I must emphasise these solutions must be truly sustainable.”
She believed EU travellers would be prepared to pay more if it ensured a more sustainable future for the air transport sector and said there was a need for strong collaboration among policymakers, regulators and aviation industry stakeholders.
Speaking to GreenAir on the sidelines, Bruce Parry, Senior Environment Manager of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), said the SAJF initiative underlined the importance of bringing together key stakeholders to gain their commitment to realise the expansion of sustainable aviation fuels. He said the fuels were important in the context of ICAO’s CORSIA global offsetting scheme for emissions from international aviation but hoped they would be used for domestic and well as international flights.
The five associations behind the initiative – GAMA, NBAA, EBAA, International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) – were provided with technical assistance from the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).
“The commitment of this coalition to continued emissions reduction is one shared across the business aviation sector,” said Juergen Wiese, EBAA Chairman. “Thanks to a continuous focus on emissions, business aircraft today are cleaner, quieter and more fuel efficient than ever before. This initiative is the next major milestone in our work on emissions.”