Higher airfares on the horizon as carriers look to hit emissions target

Looking trough window of an aircraft, airplane or plane wing. View from plane window during landing or takeoff over the city urban area.
Edited by Travel Weekly


    Travellers may need to prepare for further inflated airfares as airlines look to cut back on their emissions.

    In July, the federal government’s updated safeguard mechanism came into effect and will limit the greenhouse gases from large industrial facilities.

    While this will lead to a greener carbon footprint, higher airfares will follow, the Australian Association Press reported.

    Virgin Australia chief of corporate affairs Christian Bennett said the move towards sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) was the answer for cutting back on emissions, but it’s five times as expensive as existing jet fuel.

    “There is no escaping the challenge of sustainable aviation fuel,” Bennett told a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

    “The technology is not the problem – actually making sustainable aviation fuel is not the problem.

    “Economics is the problem.”

    To hit the newly updated target, Virgin will need to reduce its emissions by 4.9 per cent.

    SAF produces 80 per cent less pollution than conventional options, but what puts airlines off quickly adopting the alternative fuel is its exorbitant costs.

    For Virgin Australia, fuel is its largest single expense, making up a quarter of the airline’s operating costs.

    Currently, the raw materials for SAF is exported to the USA and Singapore, but moves to produce it domestically could bring down prices, emissions and save time.

    In May, the Queensland Government partnered up with Qantas to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to deliver Australia’s first bio-refinery to produce 100 million litres of sustainable aviation fuel per annum.

    This will include exploring how to fully leverage sugarcane and agricultural by-products for biofuels production and the potential for developing new feedstock sources and processes.

    Qantas currently uses green aviation fuel sourced overseas and is targeting 10 per cent SAF in its fuel mix by 2030, and about 60 per cent by 2050.


    Featured Image: View from plane window (iStock/_jure)

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