More talk about SAF

Cathay Pacific helps create Hong Kong SAF coalition, but how much impact will it have in making SAF a reality?

Cathay Pacific
(PHOTO: Cathay Pacific) aerospace continues to talk big about sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with Cathay Pacific announcing it has joined the Hong Kong Sustainable Aviation Fuel Coalition (HKSAFC) as its co-initiator. The coalition is convened and chaired by Business Environment Council (BEC), along with 13 founding partners.

In October 2023, the Hong Kong SAR Government highlighted the importance of SAF in its 2023 Policy Address, emphasising forward-looking planning to drive the use of SAF in Hong Kong. Cathay said it supports the government’s intention to promote the supply of SAF. The HKSAFC is a multi-stakeholder platform in the region that brings together the aviation industry, SAF producers, fuel suppliers, infrastructure developers, corporate users and policymakers to collaborate on advancing the development, supply and use of SAF.

The HKSAFC aims to facilitate the adoption of SAF in Hong Kong by conducting whitepaper research on SAF development, engaging with different stakeholders and the Government, and raising public awareness of the benefits as well as challenges of SAF. The coalition also seeks to grow Hong Kong as a regional SAF hub that can contribute to global climate mitigation efforts and China’s carbon-neutrality target.

Liu Chun-san, Acting Secretary for Transport and Logistics, said at the launch ceremony: “The government fully endorses the direction of using SAF to decarbonise the aviation sector which helps maintaining the leading position of Hong Kong International Airport (“HKIA”) in green and sustainable development. Apart from the environmental benefits, ensuring the sufficient supply of SAF at HKIA would help consolidate Hong Kong’s international aviation hub status. Most airlines now have their own sustainability goals or requirements imposed by their base-governments on the use of SAF. The availability of SAF at airports will be, if not has been, one of the major considerations of airlines in flight planning and expansion.”

Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer Ronald Lam said: “Sustainability is a key focus for Cathay, and we are committed to achieving our carbon net-zero goal by 2050. We firmly believe that SAF is a key enabler for the aviation industry to achieve its long-term environmental targets and to support the global transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Other coalition partners include:

  • AFSC Operations Limited
  • Airport Authority Hong Kong
  • Board of Airline Representatives Hong Kong
  • Business Environment Council
  • Cathay Pacific Airways Limited
  • China Aviation Oil (Hong Kong) Company Limited
  • ECO Aviation Fuel Services Limited
  • EcoCeres Limited
  • PetroChina International (Hong Kong) Corporation Limited
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited
  • Shell Aviation
  • Sinopec (Hong Kong) Aviation Co., Ltd
  • Standard Chartered Bank (HK) Ltd
  • Swire Pacific Limited

Cathay hopes to work closely with the government and the HKSAFC to create a conducive market environment for SAF, especially with the airline’s commitment to using SAF for 10% of its total fuel usage by 2030. While that is commendable, only using 10% SAF by 2030 will likely have little impact on real carbon emissions by Cathay or other airlines.


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