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Alternative Fuels

IATA member airlines and the wider aviation industry are collectively committed to ambitous emissions reduction goals (pdf). Sustainable alternative aviation jet fuels (currently, mostly biojet fuels), have been identified as one of the key elements in helping achieve these goals. They are the only low-carbon fuels available for aviation in the short to mid term.

Sustainable fuels can reduce life cycle CO2 emissions by up to 80% Biofuels derived from sustainable oil crops such as jatropha, camelina and algae or from wood and waste biomass can reduce the overall carbon footprint by around 80% over their full lifecycle. Test flights using biofuels have been carried out by dozens of airlines and have proven that biofuels work and can be mixed with existing jet fuel.

The airline industry has played an instrumental role in advancing technical certification for biofuels which can now be used on passenger flights. The first commercial flights using biofuels were achieved in 2011.

Governmental support is essential to achieve the industry's climate goals from sustainable alternative aviation fuels. See IATA's Sustainable Alternative Aviation Fuels Strategy (pdf)

Our vision

  • To significantly reduce its carbon footprint over the next decades,
  • To develop a long term, sustainable alternative for petroleum-based jet fuel

Our objectives

  • Continuity: build a long-term sustainable aviation industry
  • Climate: deliver on industry stated environmental goals
  • Cost-competitiveness: pursue affordable biojet solutions

Our focus

  • Bring together different stakeholders from industry and policymakers in the alternative fuel area and facilitate cooperation and partnerships between them
  • Provide policy support at national, regional (e.g. EU) and international (UN) level to create the necessary framework for the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels
  • Work towards removing obstacles to the realization of a cost-competitive, sustainable aviation jet fuel market
  • Establish a roadmap evaluating the short and long term potential for alternative fuels
  • Promote the use of sustainable aviation fuels in compliance with robust sustainability criteria
  • Raise public awareness for related industry efforts
  • Play a leading rolde in standard setting for alternative drop-in fuels in the areas of technical certification and logistics, and provide related technical support
  • Create a platform for knowledge exchange, amongst airlines and external partners (e.g. airports)

Supporting resources

IATA is committed to making airlines' transition to biojet fuel as simple as possible. The IATA Guidance Material for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Management (pdf) incorporates the following four topics, each contained in its own chapter:

  • Technical certification and handling of sustainable aviation fuel
  • Sustainability certification
  • Compliance with emissions regulations
  • Purchase contracts and insurance

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