Focusing on sustainability Ed Bolen is President and CEO the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Among the many effects from the COVID-19 pandemic has been a noticeable reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions around the globe, as demand across all modes of air, land and sea transport dwindled earlier this year, due to international travel restrictions and regional lockdown efforts stemming from the virus. That hasn’t gone unnoticed, and as travel demand inevitably rebounds, this places even greater emphasis on the need for sustainability in the worldwide aviation sector, including the business aviation community. Although global business aviation operations represent but a tiny fraction of overall CO2 emissions, the industry is committed to exploring ways to further improve on this figure. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is working proactively along several fronts to reduce our industry’s already-low carbon footprint in the years ahead. One of the most promising and accessible means to lower carbon emissions from business aircraft is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This cleaner-burning alternative to straight petroleum-based Jet-A can be derived from any number of renewable feedstocks and offers the potential for reducing net lifecycle carbon emissions by at least 50%, while still meeting ASTM D1655 standards. SAF is not new to our industry; in fact, it was recognized back in 2009 as a pathway toward our industry’s shared Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change (BACCC), an aggressive program led by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and endorsed by business aviation associations worldwide. While we’ve made inroads to promote use of SAF in the decade since, it’s clear more work needs to be done, particularly in the changed post-COVID environment. This extends not only to increasing availability and access to SAF, but also educating operators and other industry stakeholders about the fuel’s many benefits and its use as a true drop-in replacement for conventional Jet-A. Earlier this year, the Business Aviation Coalition for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF Coalition) released its updated and enhanced SAF ‘Guide’ for our industry. Titled Fueling the Future, the revised guide serves as an educational and informational resource for leaders in our industry about the practicalities of SAF development, industry adoption, and pending expansion of supply and use. In addition to coverage by aviation media, the guide’s rollout was also covered by sustainability focused news outlets including Biofuels Digest, Renewable Energy Magazine and others, perhaps offering the audience for those outlets a new look at business aviation. The news was also picked up by DC-policymaker-focused outlets. For example, Politico noted that “[b]ackers of sustainable aviation fuel are pushing to spread their message across the industry, ahead of a summit next month.” The website also highlighted the recent addition of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative to the SAF Coalition. Highlighting SAF’s many benefits The revised SAF guide builds upon other recent efforts by NBAA and other members of the SAF Coalition to build enthusiasm and support for sustainable fuels. In January 2019, our association helped stage at California’s Van Nuys Airport the first business aviation demonstration of the viability and benefits of SAF. The event, attended by media representatives and civic leaders alike, was a major industry milestone. The Van Nuys showcase was followed four months later by a similar SAF event, held for the first time in Europe at Farnborough Airport. Just days later, 23 SAF-fuelled business aircraft flew from several US and European airports to Geneva for the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE). At the 2019 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas, NV, every refuelling turbine aircraft on display departed from Henderson Executive Airport powered by SAF. Earlier this year, SAF was also made available at Zurich Airport for those traveling to the World Economic Forum in Davos, further emphasizing how sustainability is increasingly intertwined with the global economic community. At that time, plans were also underway for a new Business Aviation Global Sustainability Summit, to be held in March 2020 in Washington, DC, to accelerate the industry’s development, availability and use of the fuels. Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced the Summit’s postponement, in line with the pandemic’s impact on nearly all other events – including the 2020 edition of NBAA-BACE, where SAF was once again to be front-and-centre. Even as so much in our world has changed, however, the importance of SAF as a key path toward ever greater sustainability across business aviation has not changed – and that’s a message that needs to be shared, now more than ever. A virtual event, a vital dialogue As this issue of World Commerce Review was published, business aviation stakeholders around the world convened online for a first-of-its-kind Virtual Business Aviation Global Sustainability Summit. Taking place September 14-15, the summit brought together industry leaders, executives and representatives from business aviation OEMs and a host of other noted experts and officials to discuss pathways to accelerate the market for SAF. Topics addressed at the virtual summit included: Why SAF is important to business aviation, how the fuel performs with business jets and SAF’s role in the BACCC. Perspectives from international fuel providers on near-term supply strategies and SAF transaction models Regulator and stakeholder insights on long-term solutions to encourage SAF adoption Expediting access when operators say, “I want my SAF!” The ongoing COVID-19 crisis did not negate the need for business aviation to highlight its continued work toward sustainability; in fact, this moment has only made the issue an increasingly critical priority, as we all ask how we may reduce emissions further and faster. Once again, business aviation is demonstrating its important part in the global sustainability conversation. We expect the Virtual Business Aviation Global Sustainability Summit to be a watershed moment for our energetic, innovative and international industry and its work toward a greener, more sustainable future. On behalf of NBAA, I encourage you to participate in this effort as well and examine how your operations may also utilize SAF to realize our shared goal of reduced carbon emissions. Once again, business aviation is demonstrating its important part in the global sustainability conversation