The entire aviation industry is united in its mission to become sustainable – helped by constructive partnerships with the UK government – according to the transport secretary, Mark Harper.

Speaking to FINN at the Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024 event this month, he said there was a “refreshing” attitude adopted by the entire sector to embrace greener practices.

“One of the things that has struck me very clearly since I became Secretary of State and started chairing the Jet Zero Council, is that actually the whole sector, whether it’s aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers, those involved in producing fuel, airports, everybody else, they all get that making aviation sustainable at pace is incredibly important,” he said.

“The conversation we have isn’t a ‘do we need to make it sustainable?’, it’s a sensible conversation about how do we do that, and how quickly, which is very refreshing. It means a very constructive working relationship between government and industry. ”

The government is working on a range of measures to support industry in reaching this goal. That includes incentives for SAF production and use, and investment in projects seeking to define future means of less carbon intensive flight.

Harper added: “There’s the regulatory environment and the rules that we put in place. So for example, just last month we set up a response to the consultation we did on the sustainable aviation fuel mandate, and we’ve made it clear now we’ve set out what the rules are going to be starting from next year. The law will be enforced from next year, starting to have an increasing percentage of sustainable aviation fuel.

“We’re just consulting on a revenue certainty mechanism, which is important for those five SAF plants that we want to get under construction in the UK starting from next year.

“The other area is recognising that some government investment – taxpayers support – into new technology is also important, which we’re doing in two ways: through the the Aerospace Technology Institute there is £975 million available between now and 2030, but also the investment in our advanced fuels fund in getting those SAF producers around the table. So it’s a mix of the regulation and the investment into the sector.”
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