The European Parliament in Strasbourg has voted to approve a plan that would bind European airports to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) targets.

The regulation, if ratified by the EU member states, will force fuel suppliers to ensure SAF is available at all EU airports.

Levels to be made available will ramp up towards 2050. By 2025, 2% of the fuel available must be SAF, rising to 6% in 2030, 20% in 2035 and 70% by 2050.

The ReFuelEU Aviation Initiative will also require the use of synthetic fuels. At least 1.2% of aviation fuels in the EU will need to be synthetic by 2030 and 35% by 2050.

The initiative is part of the EU’s Fit for 55 programme and will also encourage the use of hydrogen at EU airports.

It will create a “labelling system” to show customers airlines’ environmental performance record and use of SAF, so consumers can make “informed choices” and “promote greener flights”. 

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In a statement, Airlines for Europe said: “The five leading European aviation associations representing Europe’s airlines, airports, civil aeronautics industry and air navigation service providers… welcomed the adoption of the refuel EU Aviation Regulation and look forward to further SAF deployment globally.”

The European Commission first introduced the plan in 2021 and it will now be put to Coreper, the member states’ representatives, for final approval.