Can Aviation Soar to Net Zero? The Race for Sustainable Fuel in the Skies

Abhishek Nayar

04 Jun 2024

As the aviation industry grapples with the pressing need to combat climate change, the pursuit of sustainability has become paramount. At the heart of this transformation lies the ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The 80th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Dubai, organized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), underscored the significance of this mission. However, while progress is evident, the road ahead remains challenging.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel: A Promising but Limited Solution

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) has emerged as a cornerstone in the industry's strategy to reduce its carbon footprint. IATA's latest report indicates that SAF production is set to triple in 2024, reaching 1.9 billion liters (1.5 million tonnes). Despite this promising growth, SAF will still constitute less than 1% of the total aviation fuel usage, accounting for just 0.53% of the sector's fuel requirements this year.

Given that SAF is expected to provide around 65% of the mitigation needed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the current production levels highlight a significant gap. This gap underscores the urgent need for accelerating SAF production to meet long-term sustainability targets.

The Growing Potential and Constraints of SAF

The aviation industry is increasingly recognizing the potential of SAF. Currently, there are 140 renewable fuel projects capable of producing SAF, with an anticipated capacity to generate 51 million tonnes by 2030. As investor confidence builds, more projects are likely to emerge. However, the current reality is stark—SAF comprises just 3% of the overall renewable fuel production.

To achieve a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, approximately 27% of the expected renewable fuel production capacity would need to be SAF. This highlights the critical need for policies and incentives to boost SAF production and make it a viable alternative to conventional aviation fuels.

IATA's Vision: Policies and Strategies for a Sustainable Future

Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General, emphasized the growing interest in SAF and the potential it holds. However, he also pointed out that the existing plans are insufficient to meet the ambitious targets. Walsh called for governments to implement policies that would enable airlines to purchase SAF in the required quantities.

IATA has proposed four strategic measures to expedite the availability of SAF and help aviation meet its sustainability targets:

  • Diversifying Feedstocks: Expanding the range of feedstocks used for SAF production, including agricultural and forestry residues and municipal waste.
  • Co-processing at Refineries: Utilizing existing refineries to co-process up to 5% of approved renewable feedstocks alongside crude oil streams, which could significantly boost SAF production.
  • Incentives for Output Mix Improvement: Encouraging policies that enhance the output mix towards renewable fuels as the transportation sector transitions from diesel to electrification.
  • Boosting Investments in Renewable Fuel Production: Strengthening incentives for investment in renewable fuel facilities to increase SAF production capacity.

A Multi-faceted Approach: The Path to Net Zero

The path to achieving net zero emissions in aviation is complex and requires a multifaceted approach. IATA's recommendations highlight the need for diversified feedstocks, innovative processing methods, and robust policy support. Approximately 80% of SAF produced this decade is expected to come from hydrogenated fatty acids, such as used cooking oils and animal fats. To scale up production from such sources, it is crucial to broaden the feedstock base to include agricultural residues, forestry waste, and municipal solid waste. This diversification will not only enhance the availability of SAF but also ensure a more sustainable and resilient supply chain.

Co-processing and Refinery Utilization: A Quick Win

One of the most immediate strategies to increase SAF production is co-processing at existing refineries. IATA suggests that refineries could process up to 5% of approved renewable feedstocks alongside crude oil streams. This approach leverages existing infrastructure, allowing for a quicker ramp-up in SAF production. However, this requires urgent policy changes to ensure consistent life-cycle assessments and facilitate the integration of renewable feedstocks into conventional refining processes.

Shifting Production Focus: Adapting to New Realities

As the transportation sector increasingly transitions from diesel to electrification, there is an opportunity to redirect renewable fuel production towards aviation. This shift could be achieved with minimal modifications at existing renewable fuel facilities, provided the right policies are in place. By capitalizing on the declining demand for diesel, production capacities can be reoriented to support the aviation sector’s growing need for SAF.

Incentivizing Investment: The Key to Long-Term Success

To meet the ambitious targets set for 2030 and beyond, substantial investment in renewable fuel production is essential. IATA calls for stronger incentives to attract investment in this critical area. Policies that support the development of new facilities, as well as the expansion of existing ones, are vital. Such measures will help scale up SAF production, ensuring that the aviation industry can meet its sustainability goals.

The Role of Government: Enabling the Transition

Governments play a crucial role in facilitating the transition to sustainable aviation. Clear expectations have been set for the industry to achieve a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions through SAF by 2030 and to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, to turn these expectations into reality, governments must implement supportive policies. This includes providing incentives for renewable energy projects, strengthening the feedstock supply chain, and ensuring a favorable regulatory environment for SAF production.

A Collaborative Effort Towards a Sustainable Future

The journey to net zero emissions in aviation is a formidable challenge, but it is also an opportunity to innovate and lead in the fight against climate change. The aviation industry, with the support of governments and investors, must work collaboratively to overcome the hurdles and accelerate the adoption of SAF.

While the current progress is promising, there is a long way to go. By diversifying feedstocks, leveraging existing refineries, shifting production focus, and incentivizing investment, the industry can build a sustainable future. The commitment shown at the IATA summit is a testament to the industry's dedication to achieving these goals, but the concrete actions taken in the coming years will determine the success of this ambitious endeavor.

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How Will Fiji Airways’ Full Membership in Oneworld Revolutionize Travel?

Abhishek Nayar

04 Jun 2024

June 3rd, 2024, marks a significant milestone for Fiji Airways as the South Pacific airline steps up its association with the prestigious oneworld Alliance. Transitioning from a oneworld connect partner, a status it has held since 2018, to a full member, Fiji Airways joins the ranks of the 'Big Three' airline alliances. This advancement was announced at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Dubai, UAE, heralding a new era of enhanced connectivity and service excellence for travelers.

A Historic Announcement in Dubai

The announcement was made during a press conference attended by industry leaders and media, including Simple Flying. Robert Isom, American Airlines Chief Executive Officer and oneworld alliance Chairman, highlighted the successful partnership with Fiji Airways over the past five years. Isom emphasized the continued growth and shared commitment to delivering award-winning services and accelerated connections, marking a promising future for both airlines.

Oneworld's 25-Year Legacy

As oneworld celebrates its 25th anniversary, Isom reflected on the alliance's significant achievements and expressed confidence in the future. "We’re very proud of the great progress oneworld has made during the last 25 years, and I'm confident that the next 25 years will bring even greater benefits for our customers and our amazing people," Isom stated. This milestone underscores oneworld’s ongoing efforts to expand its network and enhance the travel experience for millions of passengers worldwide.

Expanding the Oneworld Family

Fiji Airways’ full membership comes at a time when oneworld is actively strengthening its global presence. At the IATA AGM in 2022, held in Doha, Qatar, it was announced that Oman Air would join the alliance, with its membership expected to be finalized in the second quarter of this year, becoming the 14th member. Fiji Airways now becomes the 15th member, further enriching the alliance's diverse portfolio of airlines.

Enhanced Travel Options for Passengers

The inclusion of Fiji Airways into the oneworld alliance brings a plethora of benefits for travelers. As a core operator in the Pacific region, Fiji Airways will offer seamless connections across oneworld's expansive network, enhancing travel options for passengers on both sides of the ocean. Travelers can now enjoy more streamlined connections, improved frequent flyer benefits, and access to a broader range of destinations.

Benefits for APAC Travelers

Passengers across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region stand to gain significantly from this new membership. Enhanced connectivity with fellow oneworld members such as Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and Qantas means increased travel options and smoother transit experiences. The collaboration is set to provide greater value and convenience for frequent flyers in these regions.

Advantages for North American Travelers

On the other side of the Pacific, travelers flying with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which joined oneworld in 2021, will also reap the benefits of Fiji Airways’ membership. The integration promises to deliver more efficient connections and expanded destination choices, making international travel more accessible and enjoyable for passengers.


Fiji Airways’ elevation to full membership in the oneworld alliance marks a significant achievement, promising to revolutionize travel across the Pacific and beyond. With enhanced connectivity, improved services, and a commitment to excellence, the future looks bright for travelers seeking seamless and rewarding journeys. As oneworld continues to grow and celebrate its legacy, the addition of Fiji Airways signifies a new chapter of innovation and collaboration in the world of aviation.

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Qatar Airways Poised for Major Fleet Expansion: Boeing vs. Airbus Showdown Looms

Abhishek Nayar

04 Jun 2024

Qatar Airways is on the verge of finalizing a significant order for up to 200 widebody jets, split between industry giants Boeing and Airbus. This potential deal, reported by Bloomberg News, marks a crucial step for the Middle Eastern carrier as it aims to bolster its fleet amidst rising global travel demand. The decision, which could be announced at the Farnborough Air Show in Britain next month, is highly anticipated by industry watchers.

The Contenders: Airbus A350 vs. Boeing 777X

Airbus A350: Innovation and Efficiency

The Airbus A350 is renowned for its advanced aerodynamics, lightweight materials, and fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Designed for long-haul flights, the A350 family offers a spacious cabin, lower operational costs, and a reduced environmental footprint. These attributes make it an attractive option for airlines looking to enhance passenger comfort while keeping expenses in check.

Boeing 777X: Next-Gen Performance

Boeing's 777X series represents the latest evolution in the company's widebody lineup. With its composite wings, foldable wingtips, and GE9X engines, the 777X promises superior fuel efficiency and extended range. The aircraft's larger capacity and innovative features, such as larger windows and higher ceilings, are designed to provide an exceptional passenger experience.

Qatar Airways’ Strategic Considerations

Fleet Renewal and Expansion

Qatar Airways' potential order reflects its strategic vision to renew its aging fleet and expand its international reach. As the airline industry recovers from the pandemic, carriers are investing in modern, fuel-efficient aircraft to reduce operating costs and meet the growing demand for air travel. By opting for both Airbus and Boeing models, Qatar Airways can diversify its fleet and leverage the strengths of each manufacturer.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

In an era where sustainability is becoming increasingly important, Qatar Airways is likely considering the environmental impact of its new aircraft. Both the A350 and 777X are designed with eco-friendly features, but the choice will hinge on which model offers the best balance of efficiency, performance, and environmental benefits.

The Industry Implications

Competitive Edge in the Middle East

Securing a large order from Qatar Airways would be a significant win for either Airbus or Boeing, reinforcing their positions in the competitive Middle Eastern market. This region, known for its rapid aviation growth, is a battleground for aircraft manufacturers vying for lucrative deals with major carriers like Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad.

Global Supply Chain and Production

A deal of this magnitude will also have ripple effects across the global supply chain. It will boost production lines, create jobs, and drive economic activity in regions where Airbus and Boeing manufacture their aircraft. Moreover, it could influence the strategies of other airlines contemplating similar fleet upgrades.

Conclusion: The Countdown to Farnborough

As the Farnborough Air Show approaches, the aviation industry is buzzing with speculation about Qatar Airways' impending decision. Whether the carrier opts for Airbus, Boeing, or a combination of both, the order will mark a pivotal moment in its journey towards fleet modernization and environmental sustainability. Stay tuned for updates from Farnborough, where the future of Qatar Airways' fleet will soon be unveiled.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Can India Lead the Way in Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production?

Abhishek Nayar

04 Jun 2024

With the global aviation industry facing increasing pressure to reduce carbon emissions, the potential for producing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in India presents a significant opportunity. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently highlighted this potential, calling for a substantial increase in SAF production to meet future demands. But how feasible is this ambition, and what steps are being taken to realize it?

India's Potential in SAF Production

A Promising Pathway

India, known for its rapidly expanding civil aviation market, is uniquely positioned to become a major player in SAF production. Hemant Mistry, Director of Net Zero Transition at IATA, emphasized the substantial opportunities in India due to its abundant feedstocks suitable for SAF production. "Regions like India have significant opportunities on feedstocks, which can support the pathway for SAF," Mistry noted.

Current Production Levels

As of 2023, global SAF production was approximately 0.5 million tons. However, to meet the ambitious carbon reduction targets set for 2050, production needs to increase dramatically—by around 1,000 times to reach 500 million tons. This massive scale-up presents both a challenge and an opportunity for countries like India.

The Role of IATA and the SAF Registry

Establishing the SAF Registry

To accelerate the adoption of SAF, IATA announced plans to launch the SAF Registry in the first quarter of 2025. This registry aims to authoritatively account for and report emissions reductions from SAF use. The initiative has already garnered support from seventeen airlines, one airline group, six national authorities, three Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and one fuel producer.

Accelerating SAF Uptake

Marie Owens Thomsen, Senior VP Sustainability & Chief Economist at IATA, emphasized the critical role of SAF in achieving net zero emissions. "SAF will be responsible for the greatest amount of CO2 reductions by 2050 (65 percent)," she said. This statement underscores the importance of scaling up SAF production and utilization.

India's Growing Civil Aviation Market

Expanding Fleet and Rising Demand

India is one of the fastest-growing civil aviation markets in the world, with domestic carriers continually expanding their fleets to meet rising air traffic demand. The country’s strategic position and market dynamics make it a crucial player in the global effort to reduce aviation emissions through SAF.

Supporting Global Goals

Indian carriers, including major airlines like Air India and IndiGo, are part of the IATA, which represents around 330 airlines accounting for over 80 percent of global traffic. Their involvement in SAF initiatives will be essential for achieving the targeted reductions in carbon emissions.

Global Efforts and India's Role

SAF Projects Worldwide

IATA has identified 140 SAF projects progressing across 31 countries, highlighting a global movement towards sustainable aviation. India's participation in these efforts will be crucial to ensuring the global aviation industry meets its decarbonization goals.

Government and Industry Collaboration

To realize the full potential of SAF, collaboration between the Indian government, industry stakeholders, and international organizations like IATA is essential. Policies supporting SAF production, investment in research and development, and infrastructure development will be key drivers in this journey.


The future of sustainable aviation heavily relies on the production and utilization of SAF. India's significant potential in this area could make it a leader in the global effort to reduce carbon emissions in aviation. With strategic initiatives like the IATA SAF Registry and the commitment of Indian airlines, the path towards a greener future in aviation looks promising. Can India rise to the challenge and lead the way in SAF production? The coming years will be crucial in determining the answer.

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Airbus Faces New Turbulence: Parts Shortages and Labor Woes Challenge Production Goals

Abhishek Nayar

03 Jun 2024

Airbus, the world's largest aircraft manufacturer, is grappling with significant challenges in ramping up production for its passenger jets. As parts and labor shortages persist, the company faces pressure that could impact its ambitious delivery targets for 2024. This situation poses potential delays for airlines eagerly awaiting new aircraft.

Production Woes and Delivery Delays

Struggles with Parts and Labor Shortages

Airbus is experiencing ongoing difficulties in securing necessary parts and labor, crucial for maintaining its production schedule. The complexity of the supply chain, which contributes up to 80% of the content of Airbus jets and extends nine layers deep, exacerbates the problem. Key components, such as forgings and aircraft seats, are particularly scarce, with lead times extending to two years for some parts.

Impact on Delivery Schedules

The disruptions have led to assembly delays for several dozen jets slated for the second half of the year. Industry sources indicate that airlines might face further postponements in deliveries, which are already averaging 1.5 months behind schedule. Despite these challenges, Airbus maintains its target of delivering 800 airplanes in 2024, as reiterated in its last quarterly report.

Production Goals and Industry Impact

Ambitious Production Targets

Airbus plans to significantly boost its aircraft production, aiming to manufacture up to 75 narrowbody planes per month by 2026. However, the current delays are eating into the buffer time needed to meet these medium-term goals. Monthly internal meetings at Airbus are crucial for aligning industrial production with long-term demand, with parts typically ordered over a year in advance.

Supplier Strain and Forecast Adjustments

Suppliers are feeling the strain, with regular deferrals of monthly requests, known as "call-offs." This pattern indicates further delays in bringing aircraft to the assembly lines. The issue of plane shortages is expected to be a major talking point at the upcoming International Air Transport Association summit in Dubai, reflecting growing concerns among airline leaders.

Positive Developments Amidst Challenges

A321XLR Certification Progress

Amidst the mounting production challenges, Airbus is optimistic about achieving a significant milestone: the certification of its A321XLR passenger jet. Industry sources suggest that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is likely to certify the aircraft by summer, potentially in time for the Farnborough Airshow in July. This development could bolster Airbus's market position and provide a much-needed positive note in an otherwise challenging period.


Airbus's efforts to ramp up production are being tested by persistent parts and labor shortages, threatening to delay aircraft deliveries and strain relationships with airlines. While the company remains steadfast in its ambitious delivery targets, the industry watches closely to see how it navigates these turbulent times. The anticipated certification of the A321XLR offers a glimmer of hope, signaling progress amidst the ongoing challenges.

With Inputs from Reuters

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American Airlines Flight Attendants Gear Up for Strike Amid Contract Stalemate

Abhishek Nayar

03 Jun 2024

In a move that could disrupt travel plans for thousands, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has called on its members at American Airlines Group Inc. to prepare for strike action. This announcement comes on the heels of unsuccessful contract negotiations that have left key economic and scheduling issues unresolved. With the prospect of industrial action looming, the pressure is mounting on both sides to find a resolution.

Stalemate in Negotiations

Key Economic Disputes

The APFA highlighted significant disagreements over the financial terms of the proposed contract. These economic issues, described as "key" by the union, have been a major sticking point in the negotiations. Despite ongoing discussions, the gap between the flight attendants' demands and the company's offers remains wide.

Scheduling Concessions: A Major Obstacle

Adding to the complexity of the negotiations are the scheduling concessions demanded by American Airlines. The APFA has labeled these demands as "completely unacceptable," indicating a firm stance against potential changes that could impact the work-life balance and job security of flight attendants. The union's resistance to these concessions underscores the critical nature of scheduling flexibility for its members.

The Role of the National Mediation Board

A "Last Ditch" Effort

The National Mediation Board (NMB), the federal agency overseeing the negotiations, is expected to convene a final attempt to bridge the divide between the two parties in the coming weeks. The APFA expressed hope that this intervention could lead to a breakthrough, but the outcome remains uncertain.

Political Pressure

Amidst the deadlock, lawmakers in the U.S. have been vocal in urging the NMB to expedite efforts to facilitate agreements for the approximately 80,000 flight attendants currently in limbo. This political pressure adds another layer of urgency to the mediation process.

Broader Industry Implications

A Widespread Issue

The contract disputes at American Airlines are not isolated incidents. Flight attendants at other major carriers, including United Airlines, Alaska Air Group, and Frontier, are also embroiled in ongoing contract negotiations. These workers, alongside those from over a dozen other airlines, are striving for new agreements that better reflect their contributions and address their concerns.

Potential Ripple Effects

A strike at American Airlines could have significant repercussions across the aviation industry. With travel demand recovering post-pandemic, any disruption in flight operations could lead to widespread delays, cancellations, and customer dissatisfaction. The situation underscores the critical role of flight attendants and the importance of fair labor practices in ensuring smooth airline operations.


As the APFA prepares its members for possible strike action, the urgency for a resolution to the contract impasse with American Airlines grows. The impending intervention by the National Mediation Board could be a decisive moment in these contentious negotiations. With broader implications for the industry and mounting political pressure, all eyes will be on the upcoming talks. The outcome will not only affect the immediate stakeholders but could also set a precedent for labor relations in the aviation sector.

With Inputs from Reuters