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This airline is adding a £60 fee to tickets to pay for sustainable fuel

Over the last few years, the aviation industry has had to come to terms with its emission problem. Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) have been posed as a viable solution, but it looks like their cost is being passed onto consumers.

Missing the days when you could find flights abroad for as little as £20? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you shouldn’t hold your breath for their return.

Starting from January 2025, the popular European airline Lufthansa will be adding a £60 environmental charge to its ticket prices. Officials from the carrier say that these funds will be needed for its green transition, including compliance with incoming EU emissions regulations.

Lufthansa is striving to fuel its fleets at least partially with sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), while launching a series of other carbon-cutting initiatives. Though it is not the first European airline to take these measures – Air France-KLM introduced an SAF surcharge ­in 2022 – it’s expected that this move will spark other airlines to follow suit.

This, as you can imagine, probably won’t go down so well with many fliers.

A Guide to Sustainable Aviation Fuels - ADS Group

Will all Lufthansa flights be affected?

Lufthansa is the operator of Eurowings, Austrian Swiss, Brussels Airlines, and Lufthansa City Airlines. Those flying with these carriers can expect to see the environmental charge applied when they book for any flight during 2025 and beyond.

Luckily, £60 is the highest possible environmental charge fliers can accrue when booking their travel. The threshold for this fee sits between £1-60, depending on what seat class a ticket is booked in.

The fee will apply to all flights leaving from EU member states, plus the UK, Norway, and Switzerland. For anyone who’s a big planner and wants to book a flight for some time in 2025 , they’ll see the charge added from today.

Should the cost of SAF be passed onto consumers?

Obviously, it’s not ideal that the cost of flights will be going up. However, when the cost of SAF is 5x times more expensive than traditional fuels, the funds needs to come from somewhere.

At present, the production rate of sustainable fuels are still way too low to keep up with demand, with only 600 million litres of SAF produced in 2023. This keeps their cost high, despite widespread agreement that SAF is one of the most efficient ways to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel.

The International Air Transport Agency predicts that the level of SAF will triple in 2024, producing more than 1.8 billion litres of fuel, but that it will still only account for 0.53 percent of the industry’s demand.

As a result, officials say that production of SAF must be ‘supercharged’ if airlines are to meet Europe’s goals to decarbonise the industry and meet continent-wide green targets.

It’s clear that a switch from fossil fuels to sustainable fuels will cost everyone a bit more – at least for the time being. On the bright side, at least it won’t cost us our planet.