The Chief Executive Officer of Delta Air Lines has said that government support is essential if the industry is to hit its target of using 10 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) by 2030.

Many airlines have made the pledge.  Delta is aiming to be the world’s first carbon neutral airline.

One of its milestones to get there is to use 10 per cent SAF for its flights by 2030.

Asked by Business Traveller about the likelihood of getting there without government support, Bastian was clear that it was essential.

“There’s no question we will not get there unless our governments stand by and provide a commercial pathway. We need our government to step into the gap between the energy producers and enablers and the [airline] industry… because the gap is something that cannot be bridged in today’s economics.”

Bastian went on to say: “There is legislation on the Hill [US Congress] to create incentives for the energy producers to invest in sustainable aviation fuels. We believe there is a pathway to get there and hopefully it will be approved in Washington in the coming months, so we’re working very closely with the Department of Energy and producers on this topic.”

The Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss, agreed, saying that to hit the goal “requires the signals from governments….We are committed to buy it, but we should put more pressure on the oil majors who sell us the fossil fuel industry and who have made a lot of money from doing so.”

“Of course we will provide the off-take agreements and will buy the fuel, even at a premium… but we need to scale it up by 78 times from the present level to get to the 10 per cent by 2030, that’s the scale of the problem that this industry is facing, and it’s not a problem that Delta or Virgin can solve. We are not the producers of fuel, we are the users, so the government needs to provide incentives in the same way as was applied in the early days with wind and solar.”