(MENAFN) Khaled Al-Issawi, the Director of the Gulf and Near East Region at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), highlighted the current challenges facing the production of sustainable aviation fuel, revealing that it constitutes less than 1 percent of the sector's requirements. Despite a significant increase in production rates, which tripled in 2023 compared to the previous year, the demand still outpaces supply. This surge in production led to substantial investments in the field, with airlines committing to purchasing available quantities in the market.
Speaking to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, during the third ICAO conference on aviation and alternative fuels, Al-Issawi emphasized that achieving substantial growth in sustainable aviation fuel production necessitates government support, encouragement of investments in this crucial sector, and a focus on developing human resources. He pointed out that the current levels of sustainable aviation fuel are insufficient to support the required trends, and high prices further complicate the situation.
Al-Issawi noted the positive development of a consensus among major stakeholders in the field, including airlines, government agencies, and production entities. This consensus, he believes, could lead to the formulation of necessary recommendations for the industry.
Addressing the aviation sector's goal of achieving zero emissions by 2050, Al-Issawi stated that approximately 500 million tons of sustainable aviation fuel would be required at that time. He underscored the significance of the third ICAO conference, particularly its focus on sustainable aviation fuel as a fundamental element for the aviation sector to attain the zero-emission target in 2050. According to Al-Issawi, the path to zero emissions relies heavily on surpassing a 65 percent threshold for the use of alternative fuels.
Anticipating the results of the conference, Al-Issawi expressed hope for recommendations that align with the industry's objectives, emphasizing the need for increased production levels of sustainable aviation fuel.
In terms of global travel, Al-Issawi highlighted that movement has rebounded to over 97 percent of pre-pandemic levels worldwide, exceeding 100 percent in the Middle East region, with some countries even surpassing 2019 levels. He expects the growth trajectory in travel movement to persist into the next year. Regarding Emirates, he noted that it has surpassed its pre-pandemic levels by significant margins.
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