Qatar Airways CEO Highlights The Need For Greater SAF Production

The CEO of Qatar Airways has consistently requested more support from all industry stakeholders to help aviation meet its emissions targets. While speaking at the AACO general meeting on Wednesday, he said his airline would use more Sustainable Aviation Fuel – if refinery companies were able to provide it. Along with its oneworld partners, Qatar Airways has pledged to use 10% SAF by 2030.

Qatar Airways A350 LAX
Qatar Airways’ CEO wants refinery companies to urgently up their production of SAF. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Not enough quantity available

The road to decarbonizing aviation has no one single solution but will require a portfolio approach across the value chain. However, one substantial piece of the puzzle will undoubtedly be the scaling up of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

The market is expected to grow rapidly from what was around $66 million in 2020 to an estimated $15,307 million in 2030. Meanwhile, at the moment, there is far too little SAF to go around, even if airlines are willing to pay the higher costs of using it.

During the 54th Annual General Meeting of Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) currently taking place in Doha, the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, lamented the current lack of a sufficient SAF supply. Refining companies should do their part in helping aviation meet its emissions targets sooner, the often outspoken CEO said.

“Right now, adequate quantities of SAF are not available. At Qatar Airways, we have contacted many refining companies, but they are unable to provide us the quantities of alternate fuel that we want,” Mr Al Baker said, as reported by the Gulf Times.

Qatar Airways, Airbus A350, Degrading Paint
Mr Al Baker believes aviation has been unfairly targeted when it comes to overall emissions and that the industry needs more support to reach its climate goals. Photo: Getty Images

Airlines ‘doing their part’

Al Baker also expressed his thoughts on how aviation has been ‘unjustly targeted’ as being responsible for a majority of emissions. The industry, he said, had done a poor job of explaining its position. Furthermore, he stated that airlines were doing their part in investing in emission-reducing technologies while also putting pressure on companies to provide more alternative fuels.

Along with its oneworld alliance partner airlines, Qatar Airways has pledged to use 10% SAF by 2030. The initiative was announced in September this year as part of a declaration by the World Economic Forum Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition. Mr Al Baker, who is also the Governing Board Chairman of the alliance, then called on other industry stakeholders to actively support the deployment of SAF technologies.

Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways and oneworld are part of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition. Photo: Airbus

The Clean Skies for Tomorrow (CST) Coalition was established in 2019 as a public-private partnership. Earlier this year, CST released a report that said that enough feedstocks are available to scale up SAF production in line with 2030 targets. However, in order to manage this, SAF production costs must be reduced. This will be achieved, the report said, through innovative regulatory mechanisms and clear demand signals.