What would be the ticket price influence of SAF?

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Feb. 9, 2023, © Leeham News: I have the last weeks described the difference between Jet fuel and SAF, or Sustainable Aviation Fuel, in my Friday Corners. We could see it has emission advantages compared with fossil Jet fuel that goes beyond the CO2 reductions it offers.

It’s a cleaner fuel where the production methods can avoid the troublesome aromatic carbon molecules that causes soot to form in jet engine exhaust. With reduced soot, the generation of contrails reduces, which is beneficial for reducing global warming.

But we could also see that SAF should be costlier to produce as the production cycle is complete. Our fossil fuel’s raw material had their CO2-absorbing plant growth millions of years ago.

So, if we mix SAF into Jet fuel at different ratios, what will be the effect on ticket prices? How much more expensive would flying be when we use SAF or other measures like CO2 emission taxes are introduced? We use our airliner performance and cost model to find out.

Figure 1. The typical short to medium-haul airliner, 737 MAX 8, we use in our calculations. Source; Leeham Co.

  • In addition to the aircraft operating costs, we must add other airline costs to understand ticket prices.
  • Then we must look at the effects of revenue management and the type of flight, domestic or long-range.

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