Presentation on EU RefuelEU aviation initiative at monthly ECAC environment familiarisation webinar
Videoconference, 6 December 2023 — The December edition of ECAC’s monthly environmental familiarisation webinars focused on a detailed examination of the EU’s ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation. This new regulation, centred on the promotion and industrial scale-up of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in the European Union, was approved by the European Parliament on 18 October 2023. It was subsequently published in the Official EU Journal on 31 October 2023 and will be effective from 1 January 2024.
Insights during the webinar were provided by officers from the European Commission’s Aviation Policy Unit (DG MOVE), Ewa Oney, Team Leader Sustainable Aviation and Alexis Chausteur, Policy Analyst Sustainable Aviation.
Ms Oney and Mr Chausteur explained that this regulation was part of a legislative package aimed at aligning the EU’s policies with the goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels – known as the Fit for 55 package. The package seeks to ensure a level playing field for sustainable air transport by requiring jet-fuel suppliers to progressively distribute a growing share of SAF (including synthetic aviation fuels, or e-fuels), and encouraging airlines to increase SAF uptake, thus reducing emissions from aviation.
This initiative is in line with the recent quantified and collective vision of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed at the third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) in November 2023. The vision aims to achieve a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions through the use of SAF and other cleaner energies in aviation.
Additionally, airlines will need to avoid what is commonly known as “tankering”, by limiting the intake of jet fuel when departing from EU airports to what is necessary for safe operation of flights. This approach aims to avoid additional emissions associated with the extra weight of aircraft carrying excessive fuel.
One hundred and ten participants joined this webinar, which included a useful exchange of questions and comments between the audience and the speakers.