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Airlines pursue SAF target and greater collaboration on aviation safety


Airline leaders gathered at the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) 67th Assembly of Presidents held in Singapore this week, welcomed the robust recovery of air travel in the Asia-Pacific region.

Reflecting the collective priorities and shared resolve of Asian airline leaders, the Assembly of Presidents today passed a series of resolutions covering sustainability, aviation safety and regulatory impact.

AAPA leaders pledged to work together to strive for a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) utilisation target of 5% by 2030. The airlines disclosed their collective ambition, recognising that SAF production is nascent globally and only an adequate supply of SAF would effectively mitigate CO2 emissions in international aviation.

As post-pandemic global traffic recovers, the air transport sector remains firmly committed to addressing its carbon footprint in the long term, by embracing the global aspirational goal of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

To fulfil this objective, AAPA calls on governments, fuel producers, airports, and other industry organisations to come together globally, to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and fuel the industry’s journey towards carbon neutrality.

“A harmonised global framework that enables the cost-effective supply of SAF is crucial for aviation to attain its net zero emissions goal by 2050,” stated AAPA director general Subhas Menon.

“By highlighting their collective ambition on SAF usage, AAPA airlines are indicating the level of SAF demand as an impetus for governments to consider the necessary support initiatives for SAF supply, and for fuel producers to plan SAF production capacity, to meet the needs of the industry.

“At the same time, a globally-agreed accounting framework for airlines to account for their emission reductions, based on a chain of custody approach, should be in place. This will ensure that the relevant carbon abatement credits are properly attributed in the SAF supply chain from feedstock to production and use.”

Noting the crucial role played by conventional fuel suppliers in this initiative, Menon said: “SAF is both essential and desirable for the aviation industry. In addition, SAF production represents a new growth and income opportunity for States as well as for waste, agriculture, and fuel industries, globally.

“Government policy to encourage the production and take-up of SAF everywhere in the world is needed to transition to an environmentally sustainable international aviation industry.”

The Assembly of Presidents also passed a resolution on aviation safety, pledging to work with ICAO and relevant national regulators to actively generate initiatives in Asia Pacific to further enhance safety culture in various areas, especially in regions with inherent terrain, visibility, and situational weather challenges.

Such initiatives could include programmes on training and education, reporting and investigation, knowledge-sharing, and the deployment of advanced technologies.

A third resolution was passed by the Assembly, calling on governments to avoid imposing unilateral measures on airlines that would have disproportionate impacts on operations, affect overall connectivity and schedule reliability.

Governments, said AAPA, need to consider the overall economic effects of introducing regulations that would increase the operational and cost burden on airlines, particularly in circumstances beyond the airlines’ control.

Overly strict enforcement of passenger and slot-related regulations during and in the immediate aftermath of periods of mass disruption to transportation systems, it noted, may not serve the best interests of the travelling public, if they are not practical, cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable.

Menon said: “The pandemic highlighted the complex and interdependent nature of the global aviation system. Sustainability, aviation safety and cross-border travel all require globally harmonised rule-making and coordination.

“Unilateral or inwardly-focused regulatory measures can result in unintended consequences in the wider aviation system beyond a state’s borders. AAPA looks forward to working with governments and other industry stakeholders, to accelerate the adequate and cost-effective supply of sustainable aviation fuels and reinforce the industry’s excellent safety, sustainability and service standards.”

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