Davos pushes ‘greener’ fuel for private jets leaving World Economic Forum

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Private jets flying into Davos this week for the World Economic Forum will be able to fill their tanks with fuel designed to lower carbon emissions, as the annual global talk shop aims to beef up its green credentials.

The so-called Sustainable Aviation Fuel or SAF will be available at Zurich airport, according to a statement Monday from a coalition of groups representing business jet operators, manufacturers and fuel suppliers. A 30% blend with conventional jet fuel can lower CO2 emissions by about 18% on a comparable 1 000-nautical-mile flight, the group said on its website.

Private jets — a staple of Davos — have become a lightning rod for the flight-shaming movement, with the global elite criticized for spewing unnecessary emissions by avoiding commercial flights. Promoting alternative fuels could help ease the pressure mounting more broadly on the aviation industry, as the European Union considers ending tax exemptions for jet fuel.

Carbon output from international aviation has more than doubled since 1990 and the United Nations has said the industry is set to overtake power generation as the single biggest CO2 producer within three decades.

The Davos initiative also comes with an offsetting plan.

Jet operators using conventional fuel at airports in or around New York, Boston and Washington where the SAF variety isn’t available can opt for an equivalent amount to be used on flights leaving from Van Nuys airport near Los Angeles, according to the statement. The SAF fuel blend typically costs more than the petroleum-based alternative.

“Business jet operators and their stakeholders around the world can and should request SAF when fueling their tanks,” said Kurt Edwards, Director General for the International Business Aviation Council.

Airlines have criticized attempts to impose new taxes in Europe, arguing that reducing emissions requires a global solution. Carriers are embracing biofuel-kerosene blends, though penetration has been slow due to high costs and limited supply. A switch to hybrid and electric propulsion isn’t expected to be feasible until the mid-2030s, and then only for smaller airliners.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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