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Council and Parliament reach agreement on ReFuelEU Aviation

Council and Parliament reach agreement on ReFuelEU Aviation

2 May 2023: The Council and the Parliament have reached a provisional political agreement on ReFuelEU proposal aiming to decarbonise the aviation sector.

Key elements of the agreement:

  • Fuel suppliers must ensure that all fuel made available to aircraft operators at EU airports contains a minimum share of SAF from 2025. aa minimum share of synthetic fuels shall be included by 2030, with both shares increasing until 2050.
  • The levels of SAF are set at 6% in 2030, 20% in 2035, 34% in 2040, 42% in 2045 and 70% in 2050. Also, a part of the fuel mix (1.2% in 2030, 2% in 2032, 5% in 2035 and progressively reaching 35% in 2050) must comprise synthetic fuels like e-kerosene.
  • During a transitional period, fuel suppliers can reach the SAF blending mandate as a weighted average of the quantities they have supplied across the Union.
  • An anti-tankering provision obliging aircraft operators to ensure that at least 90% of the yearly quantity of aviation fuel is uplifted at a given EU airport, is included in the agreement.

Key changes to original proposal:

  • The extension of the scope regarding Union airports and aircraft operators.
  • The extension of the scope of eligible sustainable aviation fuels and synthetic aviation fuels. The term ‘sustainable aviation fuels’ will include synthetic fuels, certain biofuels produced from agricultural or forestry residues, algae, bio-waste, used cooking oil or certain animal fats, and recycled jet fuels produced from waste gases and waste plastic.
  • For biofuels, the scope is extended to other certified biofuels complying with the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) sustainability and emissions saving criteria, up to a maximum of 70%, with the exception of biofuels from food and feed crops and the addition of two fuels (hydrogen and synthetic low-carbon aviation fuels), which can be used to reach the minimum shares in the respective part of the regulation.
  • The introduction of the possibility for the competent authorities of the member states to grant an exemption from the tankering provisions for certain flights in the event of serious and recurrent operational difficulties or structural difficulties in the supply of fuel in accordance with identified criteria.
  • The promotion of hydrogen at the Union airports.
  • MEPs ensured that as of 2025 there will be an EU label for the environmental performance of flights. Airlines will be able to market their flights with a label indicating the expected carbon footprint per passenger and the expected CO2 efficiency per kilometre. It will allow passengers to compare the environmental performance of flights operated by different companies on the same route.
  • Data collection and the reporting obligations have been reinforced.
  • New considerations that the Commission is expected to include in its report in 2027, such as the impact of this regulation on connectivity, on carbon leakage and distortions of competition, and on the future use of hydrogen and electricity.

Next steps

  • The provisional political agreement is now subject to formal approval by the two co-legislators.
  • On the Council’s side, the Swedish presidency intends to submit the text to the member states’ representatives (Coreper) as soon as possible with a view to its formal adoption by one of the upcoming Councils.