NBAA has recognised a bipartisan congressional request to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) for a study exploring effective policy measures to expand awareness, availability and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
“This study offers an opportunity to answer the industry's central question around SAF: when it comes to availability and use of these pioneering fuels, how far can we go and how quickly can we get there?”, says NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “These fuels hold the promise of dramatically reducing carbon emissions, and we know there is strong demand, which is why we are actively supporting a targeted blender's tax credit to increase availability.”
Representative Peter DeFazio, chair of the US House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I), joined ranking member Sam Graves and Aviation Subcommittee chair Rick Larsen and panel ranking member Garret Graves in an 18 March letter requesting the GAO examine government policies that both help and hinder “the development, certification, production, deployment and use of SAF,” as well as policies that could help to accelerate deployment of such fuels.
The congressional request for the GAO study comes as leaders in industry and government have stepped up their calls for increasing the fuels' availability.
At a March 25 hearing held by the T&I Committee, Department of Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg signalled his strong support for SAF and discussed various options for increasing its availability and use. “I'm trying to assess how much of that can be achieved through further developments in the research space versus what we can do in terms of market-making investments that might be supportive of getting closer to that critical mass that would allow SAFs to really mature as a market,” he said.
At an earlier T&I hearing, held 17 March 17, FedEx chair and CEO Fred Smith noted his company “will continue to work with industry, government agencies, academia and alternative fuel suppliers to seek development and invest in cost effective alternative fuels to reduce aircraft and vehicle emissions.”
At a separate T&I Aviation Subcommittee hearing on 2 March, Bolen expressed similar support for SAF. “Sustainable aviation fuel gives us an opportunity to dramatically reduce our aviation-emissions footprint,” Bolen told committee members at the hearing. “It's an opportunity for us to find a way forward together,” working with government leaders.
The business aviation community has been at the forefront of SAF development, which has the potential to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from aviation. Last year, a coalition of industry groups published a guide for promoting SAF use. Shortly thereafter, a coalition of industry stakeholders gathered for the inaugural Business Aviation Sustainability Summit to discuss strategies for accelerating use of the fuels.
The sector is moving the conversation forward with another upcoming event, namely the European SAF Summit, which is scheduled for April 20.