Policy Overview

The RefuelEU Aviation Initiative seeks to boost the supply and demand for sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) by imposing mandates on fuel suppliers to include SAF in aviation fuel supplied at EU airports, to all international flights. The initiative was proposed in February 2020 by the EU Commission, and a public consultation was launched to gather stakeholder views in March 2020.

Policy Progressing

The EU Commission's ambitious proposal included a sub-target for e-kerosene and an increasing Sustainable Aviation Fuel blending mandate, and, despite intense opposition from the aviation industry, it covers all flights departing the EU. The EU Parliament strengthened several elements of the Commission’s proposal, including increasing SAF mandate targets from 5% to 6% by 2030 and 32% to 37% by 2040 and to 85% by 2050.

InfluenceMap Query

Renewable Energy

Policy Status

Under consideration: first reading in Council, proposals adopted by Commission and Parliament

  • European Parliament: TRAN Committee
  • Rapporteur: Søren Gade (Renew Europe)
  • European Council: Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council

Evidence Profile

1936244746

European Commission

Lobbying Overview

Overview of Corporate and Industry Lobbying

The aggregated evidence of corporate and industry lobbying on the ReFuelEU initiative shows the aviation industry has expressed top-line support for the initiative combined with strongly emphasized concerns around its implementation.

Long-term Lobbying Trends

A significant majority of the aviation industry stressed concerns around SAF costs and availability in order to advocate for weaker mandates. Top-line support from associations and corporations such as Air-France KLM and International Airlines Group has often been strongly caveated on the condition that it should only apply to intra-EU flights. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) opposed an EU SAF mandate in 2020, yet its position in 2021 appeared to evolve to support an intra-EU SAF mandate only.

Some aviation actors were less oppositional to a SAF mandate, EasyJet stating support for an EU SAF mandate applying to long-haul flights only in 2020.

The oil and gas industry generally supported a SAF mandate, including corporations Royal Dutch Shell and BP. FuelsEurope supported a mandate on the condition that it is “realistic” and “achievable.”

Lobbying on the EU Commission’s proposal since July 2021

Actors in the aviation industry continued opposition to a SAF mandate. IATA and IAG consistently advocated against the inclusion of international (EEA to non-EEA) flights in the EU SAF mandate, stressing concerns around carbon leakage. Both Air France-KLM and Lufthansa also signed a joint Aviation Alliance declaration in 2022 that appeared to stress international competitiveness concerns, and advocated for a mechanism in the SAF mandate to reduce costs for intra-EU transfer flights.

Cross-sector associations raised numerous objections to the implementation of a SAF mandate, with the Federation of German Industries (BDI) specifically calling for the mandate to be limited to intra-EU flights, instead of the EU Commission’s proposal.

An ambitious SAF mandate continued to be pushed by some aviation companies, and the utilities and energy sectors. In 2022, easyJet and Ryanair consistently advocated for the EU SAF mandate to apply to departing international flights while easyJet, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM were supportive of the binding mandate on e-kerosene. Moreover, the policy has seen increased support in 2021-22 from Airlines for Europe.

Several companies outside of the aviation sector including Engie and Sasol advocated for an e-kerosene mandate for 2027 and 2030. Iberdrola and Rolls-Royce supported strengthening the existing mandate through higher SAF and e-fuel targets.

Lobbying Impacts on Policy Ambition

By considering the potential scenarios in the EU Commission's original Impact Assessment Report for ReFuelEU, and comparing this to the final proposal, a gauge of the impact of industry lobbying can be taken. In this case, intense engagement from the aviation sector does not appear to have weakened the ambition of the EU Commission or Parliamentary proposals.

EU Commission Proposal

  • SAF mandate: The proposed SAF mandate includes a ramping-up SAF blending mandate in of 2% by 2025, 5% by 2030 and 63% by 2050. It also includes sub-obligation of 0.7% e-kerosene from 2030, rising to 28% by 2050. This is in line with more ambitious policy options in the EU Commission’s Impact Assessment.

  • ReFuelEU Scope: The proposal is particularly notable for covering all flights departing from the EU, despite opposition from many key aviation industry lobbyists.

EU Parliament Committee Proposal

The EU Parliament Transport Committee voted in June 2022 to increase some of the Commission’s ambition on long-term targets, while weakening its criteria for sustainable fuel. In July 2022, a plenary vote by Parliament finalised the Parliament’s positions, broadly keeping the same positions.

  • SAF Targets: The proposal increases RefuelEU’s mandated SAF targets to 37% by 2040 and 85% by 2050.

  • Sustainable fuels: The Parliament voted to expand the definition of sustainable fuels in the mandate to include recycled carbon fuels and some biofuels from animal fats or distillates until 2034.

EU Council Proposal

The EU Councils position retained the core aspects of the EU Commission’s proposal. It also however introduced national flexibilities allowing Member States to introduce increased sub-mandates for synthetic fuels.

  • SAF Targets: The proposal increases RefuelEU’s mandated SAF targets from 5% to 6% for 2030.

  • Sustainable fuels: The Council voted to extend the scope of eligible sustainable aviation fuels to include biofuels complying with the RED sustainability and emissions saving criteria, excluding food and feed crop biofuels.

InfluenceMap Query

Renewable Energy

Policy Status

Under consideration: first reading in Council, proposals adopted by Commission and Parliament

  • European Parliament: TRAN Committee
  • Rapporteur: Søren Gade (Renew Europe)
  • European Council: Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council

Evidence Profile

1936244746

European Commission

Live Lobbying Alerts

Aviation groups split on details of Sustainable Aviation Fuels target

23 June 2022

According to a June 9th media report, Airlines for Europe opposed a more ambitious Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) blending target of 6% by 2030, as proposed in the EU Council’s general approach, preferring the earlier mandate of 5%. Lufthansa appeared to stress competitiveness, carbon leakage and cost concerns with the Council’s position. In contrast, International Airlines Group welcomed the more ambitious target.

Hydrogen Europe promotes hydrogen measures in EU policies

17 June 2022

In an 8th June social media post, Hydrogen Europe CEO Jorgo Chatzimarkakis supported stronger measures for hydrogen in the EU Alternative Fuels Infrastructure regulation, FuelEU Maritime, and the ReFuelEU Aviation proposals.

Entities Engaged on Policy

The table below lists the entities found to be most engaged with the policy. InfluenceMap tracks over 350 companies and 150 industry associations globally. Each entity name links to its full InfluenceMap profile, where the evidence of its engagement can be found.

Influencemap Performance BandOrganizationEngagement Intensity
D+Ryanair38TransportationEurope
DAirlines For Europe (A4E)45TransportationEurope
D-Lufthansa35TransportationEurope
DInternational Airlines Group (IAG)34TransportationEurope
C+easyJet31TransportationEurope
DAir France-KLM40TransportationEurope
D-International Air Transport Association (IATA)46TransportationNorth America
C-Airbus Group35IndustrialsEurope
C+AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD)21TransportationEurope
C+Hydrogen Europe35EnergyEurope
DFuelsEurope53EnergyEurope
D-Airlines for America (A4A)32TransportationNorth America