LISBON (Reuters) – Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is likely to stay more expensive than kerosene even when large-scale production kicks in and the cost won’t deter airlines from their carbon emission targets, International Air Transport Association (IATA) head Willie Walsh said.
IATA previously estimated that SAF could contribute around 65% of the reduction in emissions needed by aviation to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
“I truly believe SAF will always be priced at a premium to kerosene,” Walsh told a conference in Lisbon.
He expected the price of SAF to come down when deliveries reach a large scale, compared to “tiny volumes” now, though it will remain at a premium to kerosene.
Walsh also told the event that a slow post-pandemic recovery in passenger numbers in Asia has weighed on global air travel, but demand in general remained strong and airlines were upbeat about the outlook for this year.
“That recovery (in Asia) is gathering pace, but there are some issues that will have an impact on whether it can return back to the 2019 levels,” he told an event in Lisbon on Wednesday.
“I think the demand is strong,” he said, adding that most markets were close to where they were in 2019, but in Asia they were 30-35% below.
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