Business Aviation Leaders And Sustainable Aviation Fuel Meet in Davos

NBAA calls for serious efforts to roll out SAFs as a replacement for standard Jet-A.

plane refueling
NBAA says SAF is a direct replacement for traditional Jet-A.NBAA

Hundreds of business, political and thought leaders from around the world gathered this week in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss issues such as poverty, the environment, stakeholder capitalism and other topics critical to the survival of the world. Western business aviation leaders were also front and center in Davos rolling out two new carbon-reduction initiatives at the World Economic Forum (WEF). Aviation associations in Davos included the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the European Business Aviation Association, the International Business Aviation Council and the National Business Aviation Association. NBAA was represented by vice president for regulatory and international affairs, Doug Carr.

Business aviation groups have been working to reduce the industry’s emissions footprint, as part of the larger Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change, realizing that although the major environmental initiatives began in Europe, it’s only a matter of time before those efforts reach the U.S. To begin the efforts necessary to change minds about the environment, the Business Aviation Coalition for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF Coalition), in conjunction with the WEF, has secured agreements to make SAF available for aircraft departing Zurich airport through Jet Aviation and World Fuel Services. SAF is a direct replacement for standard Jet-A.

Critics of new sustainable fuel initiatives have often downplayed U.S. involvement in the climate change discussion related to aviation, often based on cost and the notion that the new SAF is not as energy efficient as traditional Jet-A. From Zurich on January 20, Doug Carr told Flying, “SAF is Jet-A and meets all the ASTM standards,” he said. “Unlike the variety of fuels available at a local service station, there’s simply no valid scientific argument here. SAF is Jet-A plain and simple.”

On the cost front, Carr said, “As with anything new, technology, automobiles … a new product has a price point to try to reclaim the investment. This is no different. We as a community are early adopters so I think we’ll help our operators see the reason to invest in responsible fuels earlier rather than later.” Carr mentioned a number of new SAF refineries expected to soon come on line, adding, “I think this is an issue we’ll have to face in coming years. Many of the airlines at LAX, for example, are using SAF in their tanks. The industry needs to say they want to take this up [SAF]. If the market says I want to buy [SAF] the prices will begin to come down.”

While capacity isn’t there yet to fuel any aircraft full-time with 100% SAF, proponents believe it’s a big start to help reduce carbon emissions.

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