As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Future of Aviation I have been clear that our work is not only about recovery of the sector from the Covid-19 pandemic but ensuring its success over the years and decades ahead.
We know that great numbers of Crawley workers are employed not only in the aviation industry itself but travel and tourism as well, not to mention all those involved in the supply chain for firms operating at Gatwick.
Therefore it is not only as APPG Chair but as Crawley MP as well that work to secure this future is so important for our community.
Five years ago I welcomed a Virgin Atlantic – of course headquartered in Crawley – flight into Gatwick Airport: the first ever sustainable fuels flight to land at the airport and used fuel derived from the recycled steel-making process.
The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) is one I have continued to highlight the salience of. Next week, Virgin Atlantic will undertake the world’s first transatlantic flight using 100 per cent SAF.
The Civil Aviation Authority have given permission for Virgin to fly from London Heathrow to New York JFK to test the feasibility of flying a fully-SAF journey.
This flight has been welcomed by the Transport Secretary and I am grateful for Government’s backing for this technology. I have been clear through my representations in Parliament that our country can do more to support the development of SAF.
It is vital that the Government back decarbonised aviation in Britain through a home-grown SAF industry. In the House of Commons I have held the Nuclear & Networks Minister to account over Government’s plans for five SAF plants to be under construction in this country by 2025. A few days ago the Department for Transport reiterated to me the commitment for looking into a SAF revenue certainty scheme by the end of April.
Through the Advanced Fuels Fund, the Department for Transport has recently announced that the UK SAF industry will receive a £53 million boost which will help save 2.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
Nine projects have been chosen to help create a brighter, cleaner future, including utilising forest waste and transforming power to liquid fuel. This investment is part of Britain’s plan to deliver its net zero commitments and make low-carbon flight a reality, with the Advanced Fuels Fund totalling £135 million altogether.
The upcoming SAF mandate requires at least 10 per cent of jet fuel to come from sustainable feedstocks by 2030. Industry is to save up to 2.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) annually: equal to taking almost 1.3 million petrol cars off the road in one year.
Henry Smith MP