IATA is urging the European Council and Commission to back incentives for production of alternative fuels for aviation as part of an imminent directive on renewable energy.
The European Parliament in January adopted its position on the renewable energy directive, which included specific incentives for developing their use in aviation which essentially give it twice as much credit against national targets as alternative fuels in other sectors. The text, which followed European Commission proposals, now awaits the European Council agreement.
“We think that’s a really important development because it would provide the right signal to the market for more production and would provide a clear incentive for national governments to adopt national policies to promote alternative fuels for aviation,” explains Michael Gill, director aviation environment at IATA and executive director of ATAG.
“Our concern is it gets caught up in the political negotiations between the Parliament, Council and Commission, and that’s where things stand at the moment. We hope there will be final agreement on the final version of the directive by the middle of this month, and we are urging the Council and Commission to agree to this specific incentive included in the draft version.”
He notes that incentives have helped develop production of alternative fuels for aviation in the USA. “There’s not much happening in Europe and what’s being proposed in the new directive is exactly the kind of policy incentive that would encourage more production of the fuels in Europe,” he says.
IATA is highlighting the case for focusing development of alternative fuels for longer-range transport modes like aviation, rather than on road transport where electric solutions are a nearer-term option.
Gill notes that since the first biofuels flight in 2008 there have been over 100,000 commercial flights using some blend of alternative fuel. “We think with the right policy environment and the right drivers from government, we could have by 2025, a billion passengers having flown on an aircraft which has used some form of blended biofuels. So I think we are really at a tipping point. We have come a very long way in only 10 years, but its now about bringing it to the next level.”