Hard work needed if UK wants strong SAF industry, says airport boss

The UK needs to work “harder and faster” if it wants a domestic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry that guarantees energy security and green jobs, the chief executive of Leeds Bradford airport (LBA) has argued.

Vincent Hodder said SAF will play a vital role in the aviation sector’s mission to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

He remains confident that the global supply of SAF will meet demand, but he suggested that the UK needs to consider its priorities.

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“If we want a UK SAF industry which gives the UK energy security and new green jobs, then the government needs to work harder and faster to put in place the enablers for that to happen,” Hodder said.

He defined “enablers” as the speeding up of planning processes and supporting price certainty for early investors.

In September last year, the Department for Transport confirmed a commitment to introduce a revenue certainty mechanism to drive SAF production in the UK.

The government, which wants to have five commercial SAF plants under construction by 2025, will require airlines to make sure that at least 10% of their fuel is SAF by 2030.

Hodder said: “My view is that, on a global scale, there will be sufficient SAF production to meet the needs of airlines.

“Whether that will be as cheap as the current price of oil or the historic price of oil, that’s a very different question and that will have to evolve over time.

“But the UK has a different question to answer. It’s where does the UK want to be in terms of having a local SAF industry and having energy security? If that is our objective – that we want to have a UK industry and we want to have refining and production of SAF in this country – then the government will need to support the creation of the industry.”

Picture: Scharfsinn/Shutterstock

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