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Heathrow has alleged that the government is delaying in securing a more environmentally-friendly future for the aviation industry.
The airport in west London has called on government officials to enact a program that would offer greater financial stability to businesses capable of producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) within the UK.
In September, the DfT declared intentions to implement a revenue stability measure by the conclusion of 2026.
SAF, derived from renewable materials like agricultural waste and used cooking oil, has a lower carbon footprint of 70% compared to conventional jet fuel. While it is crucial in decreasing carbon emissions in the aviation sector, it currently has a significantly higher production cost.
Heathrow offers a program that supplies SAF to airlines and covers approximately 50% of the additional expense.
On Thursday, it was declared that a total of £71 million will be allocated to carriers as part of the programme in 2024. The goal is to increase the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) at the airport from 1.5% to 2.5% by that time.
The United States has implemented a tax credit program in an effort to attract investors to invest in SAF production.
By the DfT’s SAF requirement, airlines in the UK must use sustainable feedstocks for at least 10% of their fuel by 2030. If there is no SAF production in the UK, airlines will heavily depend on imports to comply with the mandate.
According to Matt Gorman, the carbon director at Heathrow, sustainable aviation fuels have already been successfully used to power hundreds of thousands of flights and will soon demonstrate their ability to fly across the Atlantic without the use of fossil fuels.
The innovative incentive program at Heathrow Airport has led to an increase in the use of SAF on the airport’s ramp in recent years.
The government must take advantage of this high demand and create a law for a revenue guarantee system in order to establish a domestic SAF industry. This needs to be done before it is too late for the UK to reap the benefits of job creation, economic growth, and energy security.
A spokesperson from the Department for Transport stated that their program for sustainable aviation fuel is one of the most extensive globally. The mandate aims to incentivize the industry to increase demand for SAF in the UK.
We are dedicated to implementing a revenue certainty system by 2026 and are currently progressing well with our consultation.
The DfT granted £53 million to nine projects in the most recent round of the Advanced Fuels Fund competition, aimed at developing SAF.
At this time, SAF can be utilized in jet engines at a maximum ratio of 50% mixed with kerosene, without requiring any alterations.
On November 28th, Virgin Atlantic will make history as the first major airline to fly from London Heathrow to New York JFK using 100% sustainable aviation fuel.
The UK is making progress towards its goal of constructing five commercial SAF plants by 2025, according to Transport Secretary Mark Harper. The government has allocated substantial funds towards SAF development and remains committed to this initiative.