The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) is calling for greater “government legislation” and “incentives” to address the global issue of aviation sustainability to bring down the industry’s carbon emission rate of 2.5 per cent.
While decisions have been taken by the Air Transport Action Group, IATA, and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) among others, AAPA director general Subhas Menon expressed the need for the “government to come up with measures” and “to set incentives to encourage suppliers of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), in particular start-ups”.
According to newly-appointed AAPA technical head Roshan Joshi, SAF costs between two and four times higher compared to fossil fuel.
Menon, speaking at an informal Singapore media round-table, said it was necessary to harmonise standards of accounting, transportation, storage and for an established supply chain to be in place.
To meet net zero carbon emission targets, flights cannot be sustainable from Europe to Asia but are not from Asia to Europe, he quipped.
Menon continued: “Aviation has very few alternatives (when it comes to renewable energy) and it should be prioritised with IMF (International Monetary Fund) reporting that travel was boosting GDP.”
At the same time, he cautioned against “over-regulation and protectionism” – what he called a “Covid hangover” – citing what was put in place during the pandemic.
Joshi noted the technology to develop new aircraft engines to reduce carbon emissions was still some years away.
Meanwhile, he commented that “different levels of SAF had no level of deterioration” on aircraft engines as reported by manufacturers during routine maintenance.
With Asia-Pacific being the last to open up after the pandemic, Menon predicted the region would be fully “up and running” by 1H2024.
Membership in AAPA has remained consistent at 14 airlines over the last three years, and Air India was the latest to be co-opted in 2022.