The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), alongside leaders from over a dozen air transport associations representing Europe's aviation sector, has issued an urgent call for EU leaders to prioritise specific decarbonisation initiatives in their allocation of future COVID-19 recovery funding.
European aviation continues to reel from the sudden collapse of the air transport system over recent months, and is among the sectors most heavily impacted. These challenges are compounded by the need to meet ambitious climate change goals going forward. Ensuring an accelerated deployment of existing decarbonisation solutions and adequate investments to bring new technologies forward will be key, investments which should be at the heart of the EU's COVID-19 recovery strategy. In the meantime, existing financial instruments, such as loans, could also be made available to provide urgent relief.
Europe's aviation sector is committed to contributing to the recovery of European economies in line with the Green Deal objectives, and to the benefit of all. The sector therefore calls on policymakers to include smart measures to support Europe's civil aviation sector during its recovery. This requires ensuring that aviation climate action is eligible for funding under the mechanisms foreseen by Next Generation EU and the new Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).
Commenting on the joint letter, EBAA secretary general Athar Husain Khan says: “We have an opportunity to rebuild better by reducing air transport emissions in the most cost-efficient way. Business aviation's continuous investments in sustainability, health and safety are the new normal. These support measures will help our sector regain its economic viability, a prerequisite for safeguarding both air connectivity and our ability to keep investing in decarbonisation.”
A combination of public and private investment is necessary to allow air transport leaders to speed up work to decarbonise the sector, in line with the EU goal of climate neutrality by 2050.
Specific proposals include boosting the production and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) in Europe through a dedicated and stable set of policy measures and public investment plans; investing direct capital or ownership in SAF production facilities, enabling the necessary de-risking required to debt finance projects as well as the execution of off-take contracts with aircraft operators; making Europe the centre of excellence for the development and production of SAFs through the construction and funding of commercial scale SAF projects from globally approved technology pathways; implementing a green incentive scheme for airlines and aircraft operators to replace older fixed wing and rotary aircraft with more modern and environmentally friendly aircraft; increasing public funding and public co-funding rates for civil aviation research and innovation (Clean Aviation and SESAR); continuing to invest in the European air traffic management system (ATM); and investing in sustainable airport and heliport infrastructure.
The other associations making the call are: Aerospace & Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD); Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE); Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE); Airlines for Europe (A4E); European Regions Airline Association (ERA); Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO); European Helicopter Association (EHA); European Travel Commission (ETC); Ceemet – European Tech & Industry Employers; General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA); International Air Transport Association (IATA); and International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association – Europe (IAOPA Europe).