Autumn 2019

Issue date 7 October 2019
issue number 47

Chances are you’re reading this at the NBAA‑BACE show, online just before, or in hard copy or digital form after the October event has finished – which probably means you missed a great time.

This year it’s the turn of Las Vegas to host and at least some of the jets travelling to Nevada will do so on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), thanks to Avfuel and FBO Avflight at Salina Regional Airport, Kansas.

Aircraft transiting through the FBO to NBAA-BACE will have access to SAF from 17 October and by the beginning of the month, Dassault, Embraer, Textron and several private operators had pledge to stop by for a top-up. It’s worth noting that Gulfstream is already a major user of SAF, for its demonstration and some other flights.

The industry is realising ever more urgently that it must become sustainable if it is to have a future. Private aviation accounts for only a tiny proportion of the small contribution that aviation as a whole makes to global CO2 emissions. It ought not be too great a challenge to offset it.

Sustainable fuel is an important component in the solution, but only that. It’s still expensive and difficult to find, and even then there’s barely sufficient for a few jets to fly into Las Vegas. It is not the answer to a sustainable future. The answer is in SAF, alternative power and propulsion sources, offsetting and more. Or not flying at all.

The business and executive aviation industry builds and operates phenomenal technologies. Its capabilities enable global enterprise, directly and indirectly supporting jobs, families and the children of the next generation, everywhere. A high-tech, innovative industry, oughtn’t it be able to get its house in order?
That’s the future.

But sustainable aviation does nothing to solve the problems of global warming that irrefutably face us all. It merely stops making the problem worse.

The damage is already done.

A high-tech, innovative industry driven by people of passion and having got its house in order, quickly, ought then to look at the existing problem and consider what can we do to help reverse the crisis we took a small hand in creating?

And let’s not consider the tiny proportion of the small amount of CO2 that business flying created. Let’s simply apply some of the industry’s brilliance to how we might slow and, perhaps eventually, reverse the damage already done.

It might help preserve our way of life for our children and theirs. It might also demonstrate to people everywhere that this is an industry of brilliance, a global facilitator with world-wide responsibilities, generating innovative technologies that benefit all, rather than luxurious transport for a privileged few.