The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has issued a strong call to governments worldwide, urging them to prioritise and incentivise the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) while setting ambitious targets to meet the growing demand.
In an official statement, WTTC has emphasised that without substantial quantities of SAF, the aviation sector will be unable to achieve its Net Zero carbon emissions goal by 2050, as also committed to by the industry and supported by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Member States.
SAF is expected to play a crucial role in achieving the necessary greenhouse gas abatements for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, current SAF production rates are insufficient to meet the demand, and prices remain high despite a significant increase in production. Urgent action is required, suggested WTTC.
The council is urging governments to take specific actions to support the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry. Firstly, WTTC recommends providing strong incentives such as tax credits, grants, or financial support to encourage investment in SAF production. Secondly, governments should collaborate with the industry to set ambitious targets for SAF production.
Besides, WTTC also emphasises the importance of coordinating actions through the ICAO to establish consistent regulations, sustainability standards, procedures, and organization for SAF on a global scale.By implementing these measures, governments can play a crucial role in advancing the adoption and production of sustainable aviation fuel, said WTTC.
The United States serves as an example of a successful incentive program, with the recent Inflation Reduction Act introducing tax incentives for SAF production that are already yielding positive results.
Further, in order to achieve net zero emissions, the aviation industry is pursuing a range of strategies. These include maximising emission reductions at the source by adopting Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and innovative propulsion technologies like hydrogen and electric power. Additionally, the industry is deploying modern fuel-efficient aircraft fleets, implementing operational efficiency improvements such as in air navigation and exploring out-of-sector solutions like offsetting or carbon capture.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, stated that there is a need for governments to take bold action and prioritize SAF production. The demand for SAF is soaring, but current production only meets a small fraction of the requirement. Without ambitious targets and incentives, decarbonisation of the sector is not possible, she suggested.
“The G7 leaders have an opportunity this week to deliver critical leadership on this issue by following-up on the commitment of their Climate, Energy and Environment ministers to accelerate efforts to decarbonise the aviation industry, including through the promotion of SAF. Turning the words of a communique into concrete policies to scale up SAF production would give aviation’s decarbonization a critical boost,” she added.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also launched a new policy, SAF Deployment, aimed at accelerating SAF production and calls for governments to facilitate its scale-up while ensuring harmonised policies across countries and industries.
In partnership with ICF, WTTC has also released a white paper titled “Sustainable Aviation Fuels: The Implications & Opportunities for Tourism Destinations.” This aims to demystify the impact and benefits of SAF for tourism destinations worldwide, providing guidance on three critical actions destinations should undertake to address the challenges and embrace the opportunities presented by SAF.