The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments and aviation stakeholders to join together to advance the development of biofuels.
The association’s Director-General & CEO, Tony Tyler told a forum in Paris that the aviation industry needs fuel that is “safe, used in an environmentally responsible manner, with a reliable supply and at reasonable cost”.
“Fuel is closely linked to one of aviation’s great challenges – to reduce its carbon emissions. Airlines are responsible for 2% of global manmade CO2 emissions. Aviation must be sustainable,” Tyler said.
“Sustainability is our license to grow and provide the connectivity that has turned our planet into a global community. We have embraced this with commitments to improve fuel efficiency by 1.5% annually to 2020, cap net emissions from 2020 and cut net emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005 levels,” he added.
Tyler cited the importance of introducing sustainable biofuels to help this effort.
“Sustainable biofuels are safe, approved and airlines are using them for commercial flights. With the potential to cut aviation’s carbon footprint by up to 80% over the lifecycle of the fuel, sustainable biofuels have the potential to be a game changer. But they are still expensive and supply is limited. In other words, we need to commercialise them,” Tyler said.
The IATA chief went on the outline six steps that governments need to take to promote the successful commercialisation of sustainable biofuels:
1) Foster research into new feedstock sources and refining processes;
2) De-risk public and private investments in aviation biofuels;
3) Provide incentives for airlines to use biofuels from an early stage;
4) Encourage stakeholders to commit to robust international sustainability criteria;
5) Make the most of local green growth opportunities;
6) Encourage coalitions encompassing all parts of the supply chain.
“Such policies would help increase volumes and drive down costs – exactly what is needed to move forward. And at this time of global uncertainty, it makes sense for governments to invest in sustainable biofuels that will increase energy self-sufficiency and create jobs in the green economy.
In 2011, the aviation industry’s fuel bill is expected to be US$176 billion, or 30% of operating costs. This is expected to rise in 2012 to US$201 billion, or 32% of operating costs.