ECAC at inaugural Aviation Day hosted at the World Economic Forum headquarters

Geneva, 14 March 2024 — The rapid evolution of technology and the increasing emphasis on sustainability are profoundly reshaping the aviation landscape. In order to facilitate collaboration within the aviation community and explore the implications of these developments from both technological and regulatory perspectives, the World Economic Forum Centre for Nature and Climate, in collaboration with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, convened the inaugural Aviation Day on 14 March 2024, at WEF’s Geneva headquarters.

Aviation Day served as a platform for key stakeholders in the aviation industry to engage in discussions regarding the future trajectory of the aviation sector. Approximately 100 stakeholders from across the aviation ecosystem, including prominent policymakers and industry leaders, came together with the shared objective of catalysing action towards realising a safe, sustainable, and equitable future for the aviation ecosystem.

Inmaculada Gómez (Spain), co-rapporteur for the ECAC Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Task Group, actively participated in two workshops focused on SAF and cleaner energies. Through interactive sessions, online questionnaires, and dynamic discussions, participants identified pivotal elements for overcoming region-specific barriers, mitigating investment risks, and facilitating scalability. Additionally, insights were shared on the challenges and opportunities associated with the distribution, production, and utilisation of hydrogen at airports.

The agenda included several keynote interventions and two panel discussions that delved into initiatives post the third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3), examined the technological implications and impacts on the aviation ecosystem, and discussed relevant policies for scaling up and accelerating the implementation of novel propulsion technologies and new business models.

During the workshop on SAF, “Overcoming regional barriers and de-risking investments”, participants emphasised the importance of establishing stable and ideally globally harmonised regulations as foundational to fostering investments and enabling financing and bankability. Additionally, discussions centred on challenges faced by the aviation sector, such as the necessity for long-term off-take agreements, cost transparency, and the absence of pricing references. Furthermore, participants debated the prioritisation of decarbonisation measures, acknowledging that while airports and airlines recognise the importance of such measures, other mitigation options may be more economically viable, particularly in contexts where individual passenger willingness to pay is insufficient to drive significant demand.

Moreover, the World Economic Forum team launched a new report during the workshop, titled Scaling Up Sustainable Aviation Fuel Supply: Overcoming Barriers in Europe, the US and the Middle East. This report outlines key actions that stakeholders across the aviation value chain should undertake to achieve a target of 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030. It examines the limitations and current barriers constraining both cost and supply in this endeavour.

ECAC is very grateful to WEF for extending the invitation to this event and looks forward to future cooperation.