Developing sustainable aviation fuel can be economically feasible, says Dr Wee

PETALING JAYA: Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) should be developed and deployed in an economically feasible, social and environmentally acceptable manner, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

In his remarks during a visit to the Neste Singapore Renewable Diesel Refinery in Tuas, Singapore on Tuesday (Sept 20), the Transport Minister said this was a reiteration towards the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) assembly resolution A40-18.

"The current market price of SAF is about three times more expensive than conventional fossil jet fuel, which is yet to be economically feasible for implementation by aircraft operators.

“Despite SAF being a key lever towards achieving long-term net-zero ambitions, it also requires an all-in holistic approach with further research and development initiatives alongside huge investments to enhance technology.

“A shift in the regulatory environment to ensure wider and deeper adoption of SAF in the aviation industry is also needed,” he said.

He added that Malaysia possessed several varieties of feedstock and biomass that may be considered under SAF.

“As SAF would be a main contributor to carbon dioxide reduction by 2050 for international flights, it is appropriate that more concentration be given to this initiative.

“Malaysia through the International Trade and Industry Ministry under its newly formed National Aviation Industry Coordinating Organisation (NAICO) has also set up a task force to look at making the SAF initiative a reality,” he said.

He added that Malaysia was pushing to include palm oil for use in SAF through ICAO’s Eligible Fuel Criteria for international aviation.

Also present during the visit were Neste’s Singapore Expansion Project director Petri Jokinen, High Commissioner of Malaysia to Singapore Datuk Dr Azhar Mohamad Mustafar and Firefly chief executive officer Philip See.

Dr Wee added that today also marked Firefly’s second passenger flight and Malaysia Aviation Group’s fourth flight powered by SAF.

“I hope that these airlines can keep up the momentum while other (airlines) can also look into using SAF for their operations,” he said.

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