The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has for the first time listed “aspirational” targets for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) usage, even as it acknowledges the “challenging” steps to achieving this goal.

At the closing of the association’s assembly of presidents, AAPA member carriers passed a resolution to “strive for” an average SAF utilisation target of 5% by 2030.

neste sAF

Source: Neste

AAPA director general Subhas Menon, who was speaking at the closing press conference, notes that a collective utilisation rate will mean “some airlines will be using more, while others lesser” SAF.

While he acknowledges that the target “is not so easily achievable for sure” given a short timeframe, the association “has to start somewhere” with its sustainability efforts. Current utilisation rates are between 0 and 2%, adds Menon.

Menon adds: “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.”

A day earlier, Menon called on the energy sector to invest in SAF production capacity, in order to ensure a sufficient supply in the longer term. While the AAPA has yet to engage with the sector, Menon says the targets announced on 10 November “are an indication of demand”, especially to major energy sector players.

“Right now, SAF is being produced by a few start-ups. [We] don’t think that the start-ups alone will be able to provide enough SAF for the airlines’ needs. What we are trying to do is…to [wake] the oil [industry] majors from the slumber and to get them to produce it,” says Menon.

The SAF utilisation target was one of the three resolutions passed at the annual meeting. AAPA member carriers also approved a resolution on aviation safety, as well as on regulatory impact.

On the latter, AAPA is calling on governments to “avoid imposing unilateral measures on airlines” that would have “disproportionate impact” on operations.

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