EU law mandates SAF offtake, proposes fines for non-compliance


Info Office Council of Europe European Parliament

Council of the EU on Monday adopted new regulation to decarbonise the aviation sector by ensuring a level playing field for sustainable air transport through setting offtake obligations for aircraft operators, aviation fuel suppliers and airport managers to put air transport on the trajectory to achieve the EU’s climate targets for 2030 and 2050.

RefuelEU aviation initiative, part of the EU’s Fit for 55 package, will target the low supply and much higher prices of SAF compared to fossil fuels challenge faced by the aviation sector. 

“The new law will provide legal certainty to aircraft operators and fuel suppliers in Europe. By kick-starting the large-scale production of sustainable aviation fuels, it will soon make the EU’s aviation sector much greener. This is a key step in our broader effort to reach our climate targets at European and global level,” Raquel Sánchez Jiménez, Spanish acting minister of transport, mobility and urban agenda.

The key provisions of the regulation obligate aviation fuel suppliers to ensure that all fuel made available to aircraft operators at EU airports contains a minimum share of SAF from 2025 and, from 2030, a minimum share of synthetic fuels, with both shares increasing progressively until 2050.

Fuel suppliers will have to incorporate 2% SAF in 2025, 6% in 2030 and 70% in 2050. From 2030, 1, 2% of fuels must also be synthetic fuels, rising to 35% in 2050.

Moreover, the regulation mandates aircraft operators to ensure that the yearly quantity of aviation fuel uplifted at a given EU airport is at least 90% of the yearly aviation fuel required, to avoid tankering practices which would bring additional emissions from extra weight.

While mandating offtakes to ensure demand on one hand, the new regulations also widened the scope of eligible SAFs and  synthetic aviation fuels including certified biofuels, renewable fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon aviation fuels.

The regulation also calls upon the members states to designate competent authorities to enforce application of the regulations and imposition of fines on non-complying aviation fuel suppliers, aircraft operators and airport managing bodies.

The new regulation will be binding in its entirety, directly applicable in all member states and will come into force from January 1st, 2024. However, articles 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 shall apply from January 1st, 2025.