Congress needs to step up its funding in support of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to keep pace with recent industry developments, a group of general aviation organizations told lawmakers.
In a letter to House and Senate leaders of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, GA stakeholders pressed the lawmakers to double funding of the Alternative Fuels for General Aviation program to $10 million in finalized funding allocations for fiscal year 2022. The program enables engineering, technical, and management support of fuel research and safety certification.
The letter was signed by officials representing the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, the National Air Transport Association, and the National Business Aviation Association.
“We believe the fuels testing program is at a critical juncture, and we request the final conference agreement contain a funding level of $10 million,” the Nov. 2 letter stated. “Since the proposed budget request of $4.96 million for it was transmitted, there have been developments which underscore the need for increased funding.”
Those developments include additional candidate fuels that warrant consideration, the GA officials said.
“One fuel has been granted FAA approval for a limited number of aircraft under a supplemental type certificate, and significant work remains to determine the viability of this fuel for the entire general aviation fleet as a possible replacement for the current leaded avgas,” they said. “Additional funding would also support this effort and the ongoing assessment of candidate fuels.”
The additional funding would also help advance FAA support of industry efforts to reduce and mitigate lead emissions, and would be “consistent with the spirit” of the Biden administration’s support of SAF in GA, they said.
The aviation industry has been moving quickly to embrace SAF as climate-change policies increasingly emerge as top priorities for business aviation operators and FBOs, major airlines, energy companies, and the White House.