- 2% of jet fuel must be sustainable as of 2025, and 70% by 2050
- Hydrogen and fuel produced from cooking oil or waste gases considered green
- No to feed and food crop-based fuels
- EU eco label for flights from 2025
On Tuesday, Parliament and Council negotiators agreed to increase the uptake of sustainable fuels, such as advanced biofuels or hydrogen, in the aviation sector.
A provisional deal, reached on Tuesday night between the European Parliament and Council negotiators on RefuelEU Aviation rules, sets the minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels to be made available at EU airports, to cut emissions and ensure the EU becomes climate neutral by 2050.
MEPs secured an agreement that, starting from 2025, at least 2% of aviation fuels will be green, with this share increasing every five years: 6% in 2030, 20% in 2035, 34% in 2040, 42% in 2045 and 70% in 2050. In addition, a specific proportion 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.
What is green fuel?
According to the deal, 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.
MEPs ensured that feed and food crop-based fuels and fuels derived from palm and soy materials will not be considered green as they do not align with the sustainability criteria. They also managed to include renewable hydrogen as part of a sustainable fuel mix, a promising technology that could progressively contribute to the decarbonisation of air transport.
Eco label for flights and investments in greener fuels
To further promote the decarbonising of the aviation sector and to inform the public, 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.
MEPs also managed to convince EU member states to direct all revenues from non-compliance fines from airlines, airports or fuel suppliers, to research and innovation into bridging the price difference between sustainable and conventional fuels.
EP rapporteur José Ramón Bauzá Díaz (Renew, ES) said: “After months of intense negotiations, I am happy to conclude the Fit for 55 package today. I am also proud to say the European Parliament has been successful in defending and advancing the ambitious development of sustainable aviation fuels across the EU. We have created a level playing field through harmonised rules and preserved EU air connectivity. With this regulation, the decarbonisation of aviation becomes closer.”
The informal deal still needs to be approved by the Council Committee of Permanent Representatives and Parliament’s Transport and Tourism committee, and then the Council and Parliament as a whole.
Civil aviation accounts for 13,4% of total CO2 emissions from EU transport. The ReFuelEU Aviation initiative is part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030 package", the EU’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, in line with the European Climate Law.