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Singapore has declared escalating targets for blending sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) starting in 2026, with the initiative to be partially financed by a levy on passengers.

Aligning with the commencement of the 2024 Singapore Airshow, the Singapore government unveiled a pioneering initiative to mandate a 1% blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) starting in 2026, with ambitions to elevate this to between 3-5% by 2030. This initiative, a first of its kind, will be partially financed through a levy imposed on airfares, ensuring that departing travelers contribute to the transition towards greener aviation fuels. Additionally, Singapore has introduced several air traffic management strategies in collaboration with neighboring Asia-Pacific countries, alongside commitments to boost clean energy use and implementation at its Changi and Selatar airports. These efforts are detailed in the Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint, crafted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), which outlines Singapore’s comprehensive plan for decarbonizing its aviation sector and fostering sustainable aviation growth, thereby establishing the nation as a leader in eco-friendly air transport within the region. Yet, the document emphasizes the importance of balancing environmental sustainability with maintaining Singapore’s competitive edge as an aviation hub.

The gradual adoption of SAF, as outlined in the Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint, underscores the increasing commitment of Asia-Pacific countries towards sustainable air travel. This move is in line with the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA)’s 2030 goal of achieving a 5% SAF blend, a target supported by its 15 member airlines, including Singapore Airlines.

The report indicates that starting in 2026, flights departing from Singapore will be mandated to incorporate SAF, beginning with a 1% blend to stimulate investment in SAF production and foster a robust and economically viable supply chain. The goal is to escalate this target to 3-5% by 2030, contingent upon global progress and the broader availability and acceptance of SAF.

Given the current global SAF supply, which is less than 1% of the total jet fuel demand, the report highlights the necessity for a significant increase in production to meet the anticipated demand by 2050. It stresses the importance of signaling to fuel producers the growing demand for SAF, encouraging further investment in SAF production and accelerating its global availability.

To support these SAF usage targets, CAAS plans to introduce a levy on airline passengers in 2026, with rates varying based on flight distance and travel class. This strategy aims to mitigate the volatility and nascent nature of the SAF market by offering cost certainty to both airlines and travelers.

The document also acknowledges the recent activation of a Neste-operated refinery in Singapore capable of producing up to 1 million tonnes of SAF annually, marking a significant increase in production capacity. However, it notes the ongoing challenge of meeting the soaring global demand for SAF, with most of the current production being exported due to the relatively low local demand and the absence of blending mandates in the Asia-Pacific region.

Furthermore, the blueprint calls for an expansion of SAF production within Singapore and the broader Southeast Asia region, recognizing the limitations posed by fuel feedstock shortages and competing demands from other sectors. It advocates for an increase in feedstock availability globally and encourages the adoption of CORSIA’s sustainability criteria as the standard for SAF eligibility.

In addition to SAF initiatives, the blueprint outlines air traffic management strategies and on-ground emission reduction efforts, including the transition to clean energy for airport vehicles and increased solar power generation at Singapore’s airports, aiming for a comprehensive approach to reducing aviation’s environmental footprint.

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