SINGAPORE, Feb 19 — Singapore plans to require all flights departing the country to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from 2026, its transport minister said today, as the city-state joins the global aviation industry’s efforts to switch to greener fuel.

Under the plan, announced by Chee Hong Tat at the Changi Aviation Summit on the eve of the Singapore Airshow, the country aims for a 1 per cent SAF target from 2026 and plans to raise it to 3-5 per cent by 2030, subject to global developments and the wider availability and adoption of SAF.

“The use of SAF is a critical pathway for the decarbonisation of aviation and is expected to contribute around 65 per cent of the carbon emission reduction needed to achieve net zero by 2050,” the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), which developed the plan in consultation with industry and other stakeholders, said in a statement.

SAF can be made either through a synthetic processes or from biological materials, like used cooking oil or wood chips. SAF currently accounts for 0.2 per cent of the jet fuel market.

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The aviation industry says this will rise to 65 per cent by 2050 as part of a plan to reach “net zero” emissions by then, though that will require an estimated US$1.45 trillion to US$3.2 trillion of capital spending.

SAF producers complain that they lack certainty about whether fuel they produce will be bought, while airlines say there is not enough supply at the right price. SAF currently costs up to five times more than traditional jet fuel.

CAAS plans to introduce a SAF levy for the purchase of SAF to provide cost certainty to airlines and travellers, it said. The levy will be set at a fixed quantum, based on the SAF target and projected SAF price at that point in time.

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It will vary based on factors such as distance travelled and class of travel. For example, the levy to support a 1 per cent SAF uplift in 2026 could increase ticket price for an economy class passenger on a direct flight from Singapore to Bangkok, Tokyo and London by an estimated amount of around S$3 (US$2.23), S$6 and S$16 respectively.

Passengers in premium classes will pay higher levies, Singapore’s aviation regulator added. — Reuters