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Assure SAF Registry, sustainability in business aviation, what is to come - 4AIR EBACE 2023 interview

Download: Printable PDF Date: 06 Jun 2023 16:46 (UTC) category:
Assure SAF Registry, sustainability in business aviation, what is to come - 4AIR EBACE 2023 interview - Business aviation publisher
Tatjana Obrazcova
Aircraft: Airplanes

On the eve of EBACE 2023 4AIR announced the launch of Assure SAF Registry. Key focuses on verifying ownership, sustainability and blending information for each unit of SAF. This digital registry will serve as a SAF data exchange. We did our best to have 4AIR president Kennedy Ricci for a quick interview, but one event disrupted all agendas, so we could catch up only right after the event. Glad to share the essential of our discussion:

Q. How was EBACE 2023 for 4AIR, especially after the announced launch of Assure SAF Registry?
K.R. Very good! We are very happy with the response around the Registry. We have had a lot of conversations with European companies lately, so it was the continuation of these conversations. We saw a lot of new interest around the registry. It was good timing for us to get out about it and to be able to start discussing more pilot programs, some new issues people are having around tracking the fuel and knowing what they have purchased. This is a real need for customers out there.

Q. Some industry actors are a bit lost in “wild west” in terms of declaring being carbon neutral, carbon offsetting etc. Do you see it as a greenwashing tool? Any need to be structured?
K.R. Especially for aviation, it is very important to understand where offsets fit in. It is very important to acknowledge that we don’t think that offsets are the end solution for aviation. They are not enough to make aviation sustainable in itself, but they can help on the journey to get there. So, the offset market is really important. Normally, you have unverified versus verified carbon offsets, you have different qualities of various offsets, different standards. There is a lot more. Everybody thinks that carbon offsets is just about forestry, but there is a lot more technology out there, and forestry is actually only a very small portion of offsets. We will see new projects, new carbon-removal projects that will help to offset even more carbon. Key for aviation is that this will be a tool that helps us to achieve carbon neutrality, but it can’t be the end. So, we have to be careful how we talk about it. We have to be transparent that we are becoming more sustainable through offsets, but they are part of our journey, not the end.

Q. Do you think the industry is communicating in the right way? The industry just has been called climate criminals. How do you see the “right” communication about what the industry is actually doing for sustainability? 
K.R. .  It is a big challenge for us. The industry in general has embraced sustainability to a much higher degree than other industries that have larger carbon footprints than us. We are being unfairly characterized. It is complicated, and there are no perfect solutions, there is no magic. SAF is pretty good, but it’s a long way from perfect and it is not 100%. Hydrogen has a lot of issues. None of our solutions is perfect, but is it the same for other industries that are decarbonizing. So, it is a challenge. We have to show: Here is our course, here is our vision of sustainability. Always educating about what we are doing and about benefits. It will have to be a long-term process of discussion and education.

Q. The industry does a lot to get more sustainable and to achieve the Net Zero target. Professionals within we know numbers, actions, changes, savings made. How do we reach out to a larger public with the right message?
K.R. The story I am always telling is to look at business aviation versus commercial aviation. Most people are critical of business aviation but are still pro-commercial aviation. Look at the technology at the cockpit of a commercial aircraft versus the technology of business aircraft: All innovations happened in business aviation first and then are scaled up and moved to commercial aviation. And, for sustainability, there will be no difference. Business aviation will be crucial for commercial aviation decarbonizing. In the future, the first hydrogen aircraft will be a business jet. The first electric aircraft will be a business jet. Business aviation will roll out these innovations, scale them out and test them. Then we will see these innovations scaled up for commercial aviation. Business aviation is a key player on a larger scale for decarbonization of aviation because of that history and pattern of innovation.

Q. Should we inform more on result of project who seen the life thanks to business aviation carbon offsetting? These projects are important for many other industries and sometimes are changing people’s everyday life.
K.R. There are other benefits of technologies we happen to promote as well. When we make SAF, we don’t make only aviation fuel. We can make sustainable marine fuel of it, we can make green chemicals. When you make a gallon of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, there are other industries benefiting from this as well. Investment that we’re making through offset agreements, investment in SAF production as business aviation is helping decarbonize not just our own industry. There is a point around carbon offsets and around SAF. These are key points, and we have to talk about them more. By decarbonizing, we as an industry are not just helping ourselves.

Q. What you would wish for 4AIR to achieve until you will start the preparation for EBACE 2024?
K.R. . I like that question. In fact, last year at EBACE we made the decision to start working on the Registry. It was fun to be there a year later and being able to say – we’ve launched it. The Registry is a big focus for us, getting more people under the registry. We’ve seen this tracking of the fuel be really a key for people. There is some value on the table for operators who are not fully claiming regulatory benefits on the fuel, and it’s opening doors to be more transparent. So, we need to help people to really know what they had purchased. In the next year, we will continue the conversation about growth, and education will be a really big area to talk about. 

Q. Let’s meet next year at EBACE and discuss how the Registry you just launched is doing. Maybe you will need to adapt it, to make some changes or improvements!
K.R. Perfect, let’s do that. Will be my pleasure.

Related event:
Switzerland, Geneva, Rte François-Peyrot 30, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland.

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