AUSTRALIA must prepare for when mandatory emission reduction schemes are put in place for global aviation in the coming years, the Australian Airports Association (AAA) has said in a submission to parliament.
While there are currently no formalised agreements affecting international airlines, AAA chief James Goodwin (pictured) believes this could change “very soon” in the lead-up to 2030, and warns that Australia is at risk of losing global network connectivity as a result.
“For an international carrier trying to reduce its emissions – and it may have its own targets and obligations in its own country outside of global agreements – we know one way of reducing emissions is to simply not fly as much, and with Australia at the end of the world it would be very easy to just no longer fly to Australia,” he explained.
Australians may face a scenario where they are effectively priced out of overseas travel, with fewer and far more expensive options available to them if airlines decide to cut frequencies to the southern hemisphere as an easy solution to meet carbon commitments in the future.
To prevent this from happening, the government needs to be “a strong voice at the international tables where these emissions reductions are being discussed and calculated”, Goodwin argued, warning that “failure to negotiate an effective and equitable deal for Australia may mean a contraction in Australia’s connectivity to the world”.
Australia needs to ramp up its Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production, which will play a key role in making long-haul flights Down Under more environmentally friendly, the AAA explained.
“It’s no silver bullet, but SAF will be one of those measures that will take us a good distance to reduce emissions,” the Association’s chief said, pointing out that other nations are ahead of Australia when it comes to SAF capabilities.
Qantas Group, which has committed to using 10% SAF in its fuel mix by 2030, is leading the way on a domestic SAF industry via a $290 million partnership with Airbus.
“Domestic production of SAF needs to increase to help reduce the cost and that’s going to take a whole-of-industry and government approach,” a spokesperson for the carrier told travelBulletin.
The Flying Kangaroo also recently called on the Australian Government to help launch local production of the eco fuel by introducing a SAF blending mandate as part of a broader framework of industry policies.