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IATA: Sustainable fuels “now unstoppable”

The association aims for one billion passengers to fly on sustainable aviation fuel flights by 2025.

The International Air transport Association wants one billion passengers to fly on flights powered by a mix of jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel by 2025.

It set out this aim on the tenth anniversary of the first flight that blended sustainable and ordinary fuel, on February 24, 2008, when a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 flew from London to Amsterdam with sustainable aviation fuel in one of its engines.

That flight “demonstrated the viability of drop-in biofuels”, said IATA, which can be blended with traditional jet fuel, using existing airport infrastructure.

A flight that is powered completely by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has the potential to reduce that flight’s carbon emissions by up to 80%.

Drop in the ocean
“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.

“But that is still just a drop in the ocean compared to what we want to achieve. We want 1 billion passengers to have flown on a SAF-blend flight by 2025. That won’t be easy to achieve. We need governments to set a framework to incentivise production of SAF and ensure it is as attractive to produce as automotive biofuels.”

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