Low Cost Carriers Want EU SAF Targets To Apply To Long Haul Flights

**Update: 03/11/21 @ 14:07 UTC – An easyJet spokesperson sent further information about the letter; details below.**

The European Commission is working on goals for carriers to use a minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to curb the aviation industry’s carbon emissions. As the group redraws targets for 2030, several European low-cost carriers have written to the European Union to ask for sustainable fuel quotas to apply for all flights, not just short-haul services. Easyjet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Jet2, and the non-governmental organization, Transport & Environment have all signed the letter.

Wizz Air, Ryanair, Easyjet
The low-cost carriers agree that sustainable fuel quotas need to be for all flights. Photo: Getty Images

No exclusions

According to Reuters, the signatories are looking for the quotas to apply on trips to and from Europe, not just those within the continent. The letter states that by excluding long-distance operations in the SAF mandate, the key area that needs to be decarbonized the most would not be covered.

The group of organizations referred to information from the air traffic management group, Eurocontrol. The data highlights that 6% of flights from European airports that flew over 4,000 km accounted for half of the total CO2 emissions from services leaving the continent.

Aircraft Silhouette Storm
Airlines have been making significant strides to minimize their impact on the environment, but more work is needed. Photo: Getty Images

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A joint effort needed

Moreover, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary emphasized that it’s not logical to exclude long-haul trips from SAF usage obligations as it’s what he feels is the only way to decarbonize. Earlier this month, Ryanair shared details of its commitment to SAFs. The airline joined the Fuelling Flight Initiative to help it achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the aviation industry.

Meanwhile, rival easyJet is also keen to ramp up industry sustainability efforts. Simple Flying received a statement from the British carrier about its views on the issues.

“The EU’s SAFs mandate will only have a sizeable impact on aviation’s emissions if we all do our part, including the long-haul operators who are the largest source of emissions, and who need this technology for the long run. SAFs are only an interim step for shorthaul carriers,” easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said in the statement.

“Our ultimate solution is zero-emission propulsion which is why it is crucial that there are aviation-specific incentives for zero-emissions technologies like electric and hydrogen and why we must avoid all resources being drawn into SAFs, which don’t fully solve the problem. easyJet also operates carbon neutral flying today by offsetting all our flights as an interim measure.”

easyJet and Ryanair
The LCCs are showing their commitment to sustainability efforts. Photo: Getty Images.

A long way to go

Sustainable fuels remain more costly than traditional fuels. So, there may be opposition from many long-haul carriers when it comes to the quotas.

Altogether, SAFs are only a short-term solution to reducing emissions and improving sustainability efforts. As the 2030s get into full swing, the aviation industry will be looking to deploy new technologies such as hydrogen fuels. At the moment, these processes are still in their infancy but manufacturers and carriers alike have advocated their usage in the future.

Overall, what are your thoughts on these low-cost carriers asking the European Union for sustainable fuel quotes to apply for all flights? Do you feel that this is a good move for the airlines? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.