Sustainable Aviation Fuel Implementation Strategies for European Airports
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As the ambitious ReFuelEU mandate comes into force, with the goal of increasing the production and usage of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), the aviation sector has still to face uncertainties and questions about how this mandate will develop. The main obligations currently fall upon fuel suppliers and aircraft operators to meet certain SAF volumes; nevertheless, airports as the physical connecting point between them can still have a relevant role to play in the successful deployment and usage of SAF. The mandate has not laid out clear strategies or guidelines for airports on what their role might be within the rollout of the mandate, aside from ensuring the fuel infrastructure is ready for the safe deployment of SAF. Airports and other stakeholders in the industry are left wondering and questioning the role of airports and which strategies should they implement to support the mandate. Incorporating background information, literature reviews, expert interviews, and stakeholder consultation notes, the research provides a guide to help airports understand their role and the steps needed to implement strategies in line with the ReFuelEU mandate. This research investigates the role of airports within the fuel supply chain and their relationship not only to the mandate but to the deployment of SAF as an innovation; and what strategies airports can implement to support the SAF uptake by the industry. The research argues that airports can take on facilitator, enabler, lobbyist, and advocating roles, to support SAF deployment and the mandate. There is a significant amount of information on strategies and best practices airports could implement to boost SAF uptake, nevertheless, many have not acted upon this, as the mandate and their context are not understood properly. Therefore, the guide provides five steps to help airports understand their own context and use it to their advantage to create strategic roadmaps that include SAF uptake strategies. While the guide lays out the first steps to helping airports find their spot within the mandate, multi-stakeholder collaboration between airports and relevant players is necessary to meet the mandate's goals. Additionally, collaboration between other sectors/industries, and countries/regions is required to avoid conflicting competition for feedstock and fuel.