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Sustainable Aviation Fuels and latest ICAO News


Entering the Pilot Phase (2021-2023) with Offsetting and Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) on the rise
The start of 2021 also marks the beginning of the first compliance cycle of CORSIA, the Pilot Phase (2021-2023). To date, airlines have had a monitoring, reporting and verifying obligation for their carbon emissions on international flights. Starting with emissions from international flights operated in 2021, airlines will have to offset any growth in emissions from 2019 (on eligible routes). At the end of the compliance cycle, airlines will have to cancel a sufficient amount of emissions units by 31 January 2025 and submit a Verified Emissions Unit Cancellation Report by 30 April 2025. This offsetting requirement has incentivized airlines to actively participate in reducing carbon emissions and work towards the goal of a green aviation future.   

In the Pilot Phase, the offsetting requirements will be based 100% on the Sectoral Growth Factor. In this cycle, only international flights between the CORSIA participating states will be considered for offsetting. For more information on CORSIA Offsetting Requirements see CORSIA Frequently Asked Questions.

Several offsetting programs have been approved by ICAO and some are awaiting approval to help airlines offset their carbon emissions. More information on these programs and applications is detailed in Carbon Emissions Units Update From ICAOs Technical Advisory Board (TAB). ICAO’s TAB evaluates these programs and recommends Eligible Emissions Unit to the ICAO council.  Recently in November 2020, ICAO has approved six Eligible Emissions Units for the compliance cycle 2021-2023. These carbon-offset programs are:
  • American Carbon Registry (ACR)
  • China GHG Voluntary Emissions Reduction Program
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
  • Climate Action Reserve (CAR)
  • The Gold Standard (GS)
  • Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

CORSIA Eligible Emissions Units
CORSIA Emissions Unit Eligibility Criteria
> ICAO has also announced the CORSIA Approved Sustainability Certification Schemes for CORSIA Eligible Fuels. ICAO Global Framework for Aviation Alternative Fuels (GFAAF) also gives information on alternative aviation fuel projects, their uses, advantages and challenges. Airlines can reduce their offsetting obligations through the use of CORSIA eligible fuels.

Read more:

ICAO Stocktaking seminar on aviation in-sector CO2 emissions reduction
Alternative Fuel Development Initiatives
Worldwide Alternative Fuels in Aviation
GFAAF Alternative Fuel
Updates on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
One of the few positive outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which gave our planet some breathing room. As the new year begins with the announcements of vaccines, air bubbles and relaxations of restrictions, the GHG emissions and the general pollution are again going to significantly increase in the upcoming years. Before we reach a point of no return, the aviation industry has a short time window to turn around and help preserve the Earth for future generations.
Introduction of schemes like CORSIA and ETS have encouraged airlines to invest in a green aviation future. One such measure is Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), a fuel that delivers a lasting and significant reduction of GHG emissions and pollution as compared to conventional jet fuel. SAF is made from renewable waste materials such as cooking oil instead of the conventional crude oil pumped out of the ground. However, the current production of SAF does not fulfill the global demand for Jet Fuel due to its complex and costly production process. Adapting SAFs for regular flights can lead to these high-costs being transferred to ticket prices, which poses a significant challenge to remaining competitive in the small-margin market. For SAFs to become widespread and commonly used, the production costs must decrease – and we might be still some time away from then.
To encourage the use of SAFs, the European Commission is drawing up targets for airlines to use a minimum share of sustainable fuels on an annual basis. As the world’s first, Norway has introduced a minimum 0.5% SAF blend for all fuel sold in the country.
To this date, more than 40 airlines have already implemented SAFs at some level, with an estimated 300,000 commercial flights operated using a SAF blend, which is an encouraging development, even if the number of flights is small compared to the air traffic growth since 2011.
Read more:

Sustainable aviation fuel: A journey to greener skies (GreenBiz)
EU planning sustainable fuel target to cut airline emissions (Reuters)
The benefits of Sustainable Aviation Fuel go beyond CO₂ (euractiv)
IATA calls on governments worldwide to support Sustainable Aviation Fuel (International Airport Review)
IATA SAF FACT SHEET Back to all Verifavia News