Boeing CEO: Cheap Sustainable Aviation Fuel Won’t Happen

The CEO of a leading airline manufacturer has warned that sustainable aviation fuels – known as SAFs –  will “never achieve the price of jet fuel”, appearing to dampen hopes of alternatives to cheap aviation fuel.

Boeing Chief, Dave Calhoun, told transport executives that there was no cheap way of decarbonising air travel, the Financial Times reported.

While sustainable alternatives will likely become more economical to use, Calhoun told the paper, he does not believe it will ever be as cheap as Jet A, a commonly used fuel in aviation

“I do not think that will ever happen. It is more positive, and it will have an impact, but it’s going to be what it’s going to be,” he said.

SAF currently costs twice as much as traditional jet fuel – and accounts for less than 1% of the fuel consumption for global aviation.

Green campaigners seek to reduce emissions by discouraging flights, but some commentators argue that cheaper air travel opened up new experiences and opportunities for ordinary people and ensured air travel did not remain a luxury for the wealthy or privileged.

One energy expert told the Financial Times that Calhouon was “saying the quiet bit out loud”.

“There are no cheap ways to do SAF – if there were we would already be doing them,” Robert Campbell of Energy Aspects told the paper.

In June 2022, the European transport ministers adopted their position regarding the three proposals related to transport in the Fit For 55 package.

The move aims to reduce the EU’s emissions by at least 55% by 2030, and will oblige fuel suppliers at the bloc’s airports to gradually increase SAF usage between 2025 and 2050.

It will start with 2% of SAF being used to fuel aircraft in 2025, growing to 6% in 2030, 20% in 2035, 32% in 2040, 28% in 2045, and 63% in 2050.

Industry observers noted that a gallon of SAF costs over $6.00 currently, while that of Jet A costs nearly one-third as much, at over $2.00 a gallon.
It is believed that the higher costs associated with the move to SAF will be passed on to customers. 
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