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Minister says flights decarbonisation is ‘existential issue’ for holiday firms

Baroness Vere warned some holiday companies could fail if air travel does not become sustainable.

Decarbonising air travel is an “existential issue” for the holiday sector, a minister has warned.

Aviation minister Baroness Vere told an industry summit that some travel companies could become unviable if customers are not offered low-carbon ways of reaching far-flung destinations.

Speaking at Abta’s Travel Matters event in Westminster, she described decarbonisation as “the elephant in the room”.

She said: “I do think it could be an existential issue, particularly for some companies that may not have massive margins.

“If you lose 10-20% of your market because people actually decide to travel either not at all or in a completely different way than your organisation can cover, that’s you done.

“I really do think that we all need to work together on this decarbonisation issue.”

Baroness Vere said the UK is “one of the world leaders” in making aviation more sustainable.

She claimed the requirement for airlines operating in the UK to ensure flights are powered by at least 10% sustainable aviation fuel (Saf) by 2030 will “really start pushing the fuel through the system and encourage investment”.

Saf is produced from sustainable sources such as agricultural waste and used cooking oil.

It reduces carbon emissions by up to 80% compared with traditional jet fuel, but is currently several times more expensive to produce.

Saf is seen as vital to the airline sector achieving its target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer told the summit that the UK must “step up the pace of investment” in decarbonising air travel and “put ourselves on a crisis footing”.

He said: “The target of net zero aviation is an aggressive but necessary one.

“Much work remains to be done, but progress is being made.”

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