SINGAPORE AIRLINE airplane during landing at Changi Internationa

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s recent announcement regarding the introduction of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) levy for outbound flights starting in 2026 has sparked discussions within the aviation industry.

The Edge Singapore reports that while some travellers may view this move with trepidation due to potential cost implications, experts praise Singapore’s move on aviation fuel sustainability, highlighting its potential to drive progress.

Frederick Teo, CEO of Temasek subsidiary GenZero, believes the levy structure brings essential clarity and predictable costs for both travellers and airlines, all the while helping Singapore achieve its goals for sustainable aviation fuel.

Unlike traditional mandates seen elsewhere, where airlines shoulder the burden of purchasing cleaner jet fuel and adjusting ticket prices accordingly, Singapore’s approach offers a more streamlined solution.

On Feb 19, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) introduced the Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint, detailing Singapore’s roadmap for reducing carbon emissions in its aviation industry.

According to CAAS, the “fixed cost envelope approach” ensures predictability for both airlines and travellers. The levy is expected to result in modest increases in ticket prices, with economy class passengers on direct flights to Bangkok, Tokyo, and London facing projected increases of around S$3, S$6, and S$16, respectively.

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Toh Wee Khiang, director at the Energy Market Authority, reassured travellers that the levy hike is reasonable, likening it to the cost of a pre-departure meal at Changi Airport. He emphasised that paying up to S$16 more in a SAF levy for a Longdon long-haul flight is “not exorbitant.” On LinkedIn, Toh shared, “It’s no more than a pre-departure meal at Changi Airport.”

Genevieve Toh, head of marketing and public relations at FlyORO, viewed the levy as a strategic move to support the SAF supply chain, stating, “It’s a savvy move to lighten the load on SAF premiums and, in my opinion, give the whole SAF supply chain a boost.”

She also predicted significant growth in the SAF ecosystem by 2026, driven by Singapore’s initiatives.

In addition, GenZero’s Teo described the current levy increment as “modest,” striking a “good balance” between business continuity, affordability, and sustainability.

This sentiment was echoed by Singapore Airlines (SIA), which aims to increase SAF procurement to 5% of total fuel uplift by 2030. 

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An SIA spokesperson said, “We have been working on increasing our SAF procurement in a calibrated manner to attain our 5% goal by 2030, and will announce more details at an appropriate time.”

Sami Jauhiainen, vice-president of APAC from Neste’s renewable aviation business, is also “committed to supporting Singapore’s ambitions.”

Apart from the SAF levy, the blueprint includes targets to reduce domestic aviation emissions by 20% in 2030 and achieve net-zero aviation emissions by 2050.

CAAS plans to introduce initiatives such as increasing solar power deployment at airports and trialling renewable diesel for airside vehicles to achieve these goals.

Steve Howard, vice-chairman of Temasek and board member at GenZero, emphasised the importance of ecosystem collaboration in driving aviation decarbonisation forward. He said that the Blueprint “helps translate theory into reality” by outlining concrete next steps for a clear roadmap to get to net-zero aviation. /TISG

Read related: Singapore will require departing flights to use sustainable fuel starting 2026

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Featured image by Depositphotos