Aviation plays a crucial role in the Union’s economy, driving growth, jobs, trade, tourism and connectivity with countries both within and outside the Union.
In 2018, international aviation accounted for 3% of the total GHG emissions in the EU-27, with the aviation market expected to grow significantly in the coming decades as it emerges from the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, making the sector, potentially one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Indeed many projections (including CAPA) predict baselines of near doubling of GHG emissions in Europe by 2050 without intervention.
Therefore, FuelsEurope welcomed the Commission’s Fit for 55 Package as it contains constructive proposals for the decarbonisation of transport, including aviation, and developing the policy framework necessary for the transition of the fuels industry.
As part of this package, the ReFuelEU Aviation regulation will boost the supply and demand for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in the EU, help reduce aviation’s environmental footprint and guide its contribution towards the EU’s climate targets.
As such FuelsEurope welcomes the consensus reached on ReFuelEU Aviation after the EU trilogue discussions. Many of its members are actively exploring and eventually investing in the manufacturing of Sustainable Aviation Fuels.
Nonetheless, as the aviation policy landscape develops at the global level, the entry into force of ReFuelEU aviation deserves continued scrutiny and appraisal of its efficiency. This will be essential to ensure the competitiveness of the broader EU economy and prevent carbon leakages hinder the Union’s climate ambition.
In this process, FuelsEurope continues to support the following principles:
- Safety being a given, conversion processes and the resulting sustainable aircraft fuel must be approved for use by the relevant standardisation body.
- Sustainable Feedstock Flexibility – Expanding the pool of eligible feedstocks for SAF manufacture to all waste and residues meeting the Renewable Energy Directive criteria, would provide the widest and most competitive options for SAF development to help meet the targets of the aviation sector.
- The continued recognition of co-processing, recycled carbon fuels, renewable fuels of a non-biological origin as an intermediate product and low carbon synthetic fuels with high GHG savings as sustainable aviation fuel.
- A fully transparent and auditable process to allow a SAF certificate trading scheme, at least at the Member State level, to trade compliance certificates uniformly between obligated parties to allow a more cost-effective, and logistically optimised compliance for all participants involved in their obligations pertaining to sustainable aviation fuels.
- Coherence between the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and the EU ETS for aviation to avoid double regulation for international aviation. Free allowances under the EU ETS for aircraft operators using SAF should be avoided (as this is designed for a carbon leakage mechanism and not as a financial tool supporting decarbonisation).
- The continued evolution of energy efficiency measures for aircraft (engines, use of composite materials etc).
- The reduction of unnecessary CO2 emissions in all the operational aspects of flying activities, both on the ground and in the air (e.g. implementation of Single European Sky).
- Close monitoring of the ReFuelEU Aviation regulation and ICAO initiatives with options to amend the regulation to preserve the international dimension of the European aviation and fuel supply sector is important, as in the medium to longer term, a significant reduction of the global CO2 emissions from the aviation sector will require a holistic approach at international level.
- With the proper and effective policy framework in place, the EU has the potential to deliver the required SAF needed to enable it to reach the EU’s overall climate objective.
Read our Fit for 55 recommendations here.