According to the ReFuelEU Aviation proposal, all aircraft taking off from the airport within the group must use a mixture of kerosene and SAF to refuel.
SAF blending requirements will increase over time, from 2% in 2025 to 5% in 2030, and to 63% in 2050.
E-fuel has set a sub-target, which should reach 0.7% of SAF by 2030 and expand to 28% by 2050.
The requirement will be in the form of regulations, which means that once passed, it will immediately apply to all member states.
In order to make the regulations as simple as possible, airlines are not obliged to use green fuel alone.
On the contrary, the regulation requires EU airports to carry SAF, which means that all refueling aircraft will use green jet fuel.
All aircraft need to use the SAF provided by the relevant airport to refuel. Parallel restrictions will limit the practice of allowing airlines to fly back on cheaper fuel from elsewhere-a process known as “refueling”-which means that new SAF supplier quotas will be more easily converted to airline use.
“Our proposal supports the most innovative, scalable and sustainable aviation fuels, including dedicated sub-goals for electronic fuels,” said Adina Vălean, transportation commissioner. “We are preparing to make Europe a leader and lead the global production of sustainable alternative fuels.”
The European Commission stated that the hybrid authorization will ensure a “level playing field” for operators working in European airports and quickly promote SAF production.
The decision to include all travel—whether within the EU or outside the EU—in the SAF mission proved to be controversial, with low-cost airlines and traditional airlines disagreeing on this issue.
National airlines tend to argue that forcing intercontinental flights to include SAF in their fuel mix puts EU airlines at a competitive disadvantage and will result in airlines minimizing their refueling during the EU.
But low-cost airlines believe that long-haul flights are the industry’s biggest source of pollution, so they must be included in regulations.
Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, said: “Reducing a small part of these long-haul emissions will reduce carbon dioxide emissions more than the total emissions of all short-haul flights in Europe combined.” It is illogical for flights to be excluded from SAF usage obligations, as this is the only possible way for them to decarbonize,” he said in a statement.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents approximately 290 airlines around the world, also warned on the eve of the legislation that applying SAF authorizations to intercontinental flights too quickly may have unintended consequences.
“If the EU unilaterally implements SAF authorization on all flights entering and leaving the EU before reaching an international consensus (preferably at the UN ICAO level), before the SAF price drops to a competitive level, it will cause harm It is an unfair competitive advantage for non-EU airlines,” an IATA spokesperson said in an email statement to EURACTIV.
On the contrary, airline agencies want to see SAF’s authorization “applicable to flights within the EU only in the first phase, and once a greater international consensus is reached on the adoption of SAF, it may be extended in the second phase”.
EU Commissioner Vălean acknowledged that the new requirements will lead to an increase in industrial fuel costs, but said that any increase in fuel costs “should be moderate.”
“The cost of clean fuel must be shared as soon as possible, just as the transition to sustainable fuel must be promoted and recognized by the entire aviation community,” the commissioner said.
The ReFuelEU Aviation proposal will now be negotiated by the legislators of the European Parliament and the Council before the final version takes effect. This process may take about two years.