The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set the goal for one billion passengers to fly on flights that would be fueled by a combination of jet and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by the year 2025.
The lofty goal was announced during the 10th anniversary of the first flight to mix sustainable aviation fuel and ordinary jet fuel, relayed the IATA.
Back on February 24, 2008, a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 flew from London to Amsterdam using sustainable aviation fuel in one of its engines.
IATA said that the flight established the feasibility of drop-in biofuels, which can be combined with conventional jet fuel, with the use of today’s airport infrastructure,
“The momentum for sustainable aviation fuels is now unstoppable. From one flight in 2008, we passed the threshold of 100,000 flights in 2017, and we expect to hit one million flights during 2020,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
A flight that is wholly powered by sustainable fuel holds the potential to lessen carbon emissions of that particular flight by as much as 80%.
De Juniac however, acknowledged that reaching the said goal would be easier said than done.
“We need governments to set a framework to incentivize production of SAF and ensure it is as attractive to produce as automotive biofuels,” de Juniac remarked.
The drive to raise uptake of SAF is being pushed by the airline industry’s vow to attain carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and to lessen net carbon emissions by half compared to 2005.
Airlines, which include the likes of Cathay Pacific, FedEx Express, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Qantas, and United, have all made weighty investments by forward-purchasing 1.5 billion gallons of SAF, stated IATA.
The IATA also said that with the way things are going on now, it projects that half a billion passengers would have flown on a SAF-blend fueled flight by 2025.
But, IATA argued, if governments helped the sustainable fuel industry to ramp up its production, it remains entirely plausible that one billion passengers could fly on an SAF flight by 2025.