France President Announces Additional €500M to Meet EU Sustainable Aviation Targets
Ahead of the 2023 Paris Air Show, France President, Emmanuel Macron, paid a visit to the factories of Safran, an aircraft engine manufacturer in the Paris region, to outline France’s fresh commitments to sustainable aviation. The visit follows a working dinner held on Thursday evening, where the President engaged with industry leaders from Airbus, Dassault, Safran, Air France, KLM, and Paris Airport.
Emmanuel Macron announced that between 2024-2030, France will allocate €300 million per year to support the industry through the French public Civil Aeronautics Research Council (CORAC). This represents a threefold increase in investment, aiming to develop engines that emit fewer greenhouse gases, produce lighter and stronger aircraft parts, and foster the advancement of technologies by small and medium-sized businesses in the sector. Notably, this includes the development of small electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft.
For sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), Macron confirmed an additional €200 million for the development of biofuels and the production of 500,000 tons of SAF within France. Macron also restated the objective of blending 6% of biofuels into kerosene by 2030, which is in line with the amount agreed upon by the European Union (EU) pending ratification as part of the ReFuelEU legislation.
Currently, SAF production accounts for only 0.1% of the overall aviation fuel demand, as emphasized in a statement released by seven leading aircraft manufacturers on Thursday.
Macron highlighted that the industry aspires to a more ambitious target of 10% biofuel in aircraft fuel tanks by 2030, following the example set by the United States.
The motivation behind these new investments lies in strengthening French and European sovereignty, given that 100% of kerosene is imported. These investments aim to expedite the deployment of sustainable fuels developed in Europe, reduce their costs, and bring the aviation industry closer to its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
At the conclusion of the ReFuelEU negotiations, Ciarán Cuffe, an Irish MEP and leader of the Greens/EFA group on the issue, noted that the agreed targets are “insufficient to attain climate neutrality.”
It is estimated that the airline industry needs to invest $120 billion annually to achieve its net zero targets by 2050. There is debate as to whether consumers who travel by air should be partly responsible for helping the airline industry move toward decarbonization.
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