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Agreement on ReFuel EU is a step forward in letting SAF flow in Europe

By  Brussels, — Last updated on 11 December 2023 Download as PDF

Brussels, 26 April 2023– EU policymakers should now turn their attention to ensuring Europe develops a strong SAF industry that can provide enough sustainable fuel for airlines to fulfil the mandates agreed upon during the ReFuel EU negotiations concluded last night.

Widespread adoption of SAF is a critical component of European aviation’s roadmap for achieving net zero and EU policymakers need to throw their efforts behind building up Europe’s SAF industry in the same way they are supporting other sustainable technologies.

With the first mandate of 2% SAF uptake due by 2025, the agreement provides immediate certainty for airlines and the whole SAF industry.

The single EU-wide mandate for SAF will prevent fragmentation of the EU’s single market for aviation through differing national targets in different member states. The EU mandate should now supplant national mandates and harmonise all relevant legislation.

Strict reporting rules for fuel suppliers with transparency requirements with regard to the sustainability of the fuel provided will be critical to guarantee the legitimacy of the mandate in the eyes of the passengers.

Policymakers also agreed to introduce an eco-label for flights from 2025. While A4E supports providing consumers with information about their flights, it cautions that any label should be based on a robust methodology and present an accurate depiction of the environmental impact of flights.

Commenting on the agreement, Acting Managing Director of A4E Laurent Donceel said:

“Sustainable Aviation Fuel is the cornerstone of bringing aviation to Net Zero carbon emissions. This agreement provides certainty for the SAF industry and airlines alike as we work towards the first target of 2% SAF uptake by 2025. ReFuel EU is not the final destination for sustainable aviation fuel in Europe. European policymakers need to ensure they now follow through and help build a world-leading SAF industry, strengthening fuel security, and delivering sustainable jobs. The EU needs to think about SAF the way it thinks about wind turbines, solar panels and other sustainable technologies in order to support aviation’s energy transition whilst not pricing passengers out of the air.”

“The work on SAF is only starting and policymakers will need to ensure that there is a positive policy and investment environment for Europe’s SAF industry to ensure affordable sustainable fuels flow and set European aviation on its way to a more sustainable future,” Donceel concluded.




Notes to Editor

Starting from 2025, at least 2% of aviation fuels should be sustainable, with this share increasing every five years: 6% in 2030, 20% in 2035, 34% in 2040, 42% in 2045 and 70% in 2050. In addition, a specific proportion of the fuel mix (1.2% in 2030, 2% in 2032, 5% in 2035 and progressively reaching 35% in 2050) must comprise synthetic fuels like e-kerosene.

Sustainable aviation fuels will include synthetic fuels, certain biofuels produced from agricultural or forestry residues, algae, bio-waste, used cooking oil or certain animal fats, and recycled jet fuels produced from waste gases and waste plastic.

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About A4E

Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association. Based in Brussels, A4E works with policymakers to ensure aviation policy continues to connect Europeans with the world in a safe, competitive and sustainable manner. As a key initiator of aviation’s Destination 2050 roadmap, A4E and its members committed to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions for their own operations by 2050. With a modern fleet of over 3,300 aircraft, A4E airlines carried over 610 million passengers in 2022 and served nearly 2,000 destinations. Each year, A4E members transport more than 4 million tonnes of vital goods and equipment to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft.