Brussels Airport gains government support for SAF uptake

An aircraft is refuelled with SAF at Brussels Airport
Photo Credit: Brussels Airport

One year ago, Brussels Airport marked a historic moment by announcing the delivery of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through the NATO pipeline.

While this was a significant stride towards a greener aviation sector, the high cost of SAF has posed a challenge, hindering its widespread adoption by airlines.

Recognizing the impediment, Brussels Airport Company, backed by federal government support, is set to introduce a unique financial incentive to propel the use of sustainable fuel in the aviation industry.

This SAF incentive is poised to be a game-changer for all airlines operating from Brussels Airport in 2024.

The Promise of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable aviation fuel stands as a beacon in the quest for climate-neutral flying by 2050. Rigorously tested and approved, SAF can seamlessly “blend” with regular fuel, offering a versatile solution for various aircraft types.

At a time when electric and hydrogen technologies for aircraft are still in developmental stages, SAF emerges as the sole viable option for the aviation industry to make substantial reductions in CO2 emissions.

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Despite its promise, the adoption of SAF has been sluggish due to its higher production costs, primarily attributed to raw materials like used and residue plant and animal oils and fats, coupled with refinery investments.

Overcoming Financial Barriers

The aviation industry’s interest in transitioning to SAF is undeniable, but financial barriers have impeded progress.

Addressing this challenge, Brussels Airport is allocating a portion of the two million euros subsidy from the federal government, granted in April 2022, to fund sustainability projects in the aviation sector.

Brussels Airport Company, seizing this opportunity, has proposed an incentive program aimed at encouraging SAF adoption, a proposal that has garnered approval from the Belgian government.

Georges Gilkinet, Minister of Mobility, emphasizes the collective responsibility to leverage all available tools for reducing the ecological footprint of the aviation sector.

He states, “Decarbonisation is a major objective, and this unique support mechanism will incentivize companies to choose SAF over fossil fuel, contributing significantly to testing large-scale CO2 emission reduction in aviation.”

Brussels Airport SAF Incentive Program

The SAF incentive program is a visionary step by Brussels Airport Company to accelerate sustainable aviation development.

Open to all passenger and cargo airlines, both for short-haul and long-haul flights departing from Brussels Airport in 2024, the program offers a maximum incentive of 200,000 euros per airline. This substantial financial support aims to cover up to 80% of the additional cost associated with using SAF.

Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company, affirms, “Increasing SAF usage is pivotal in achieving the aviation sector’s ambitious goal of zero CO2 emissions by 2050.”

“Our SAF incentive program is a strategic move to expedite aviation’s sustainable development and champion the use of eco-friendly aviation fuels.”

“We are thrilled that the federal government has embraced our proposal, aligning with our commitment to achieving 5% SAF on total kerosene use by airlines at Brussels Airport by 2026.”

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Brussels Airport, backed by federal government support, is set to introduce a unique financial incentive to propel the use of sustainable fuel
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