Business aviation has taken a front seat in transportation sustainability, with its mission for reaching net-zero emissions in the years to come, but the need is more pressing than ever to get the facts on the table about the industry’s leadership.

That was the message from NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and other business aviation leaders at a recent industry panel hosted by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in Washington, DC.

Bolen noted that the industry’s unified commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions through innovation is at the core of the new CLIMBING. FAST. advocacy campaign, which brings together groups from across the general aviation industry “under an umbrella, as never before,” to educate policy makers and opinion leaders about business aviation’s many societal benefits, including the sector’s leadership role in sustainability. “We have much work to do, but we have a great story to tell, and we’re doing it together, as one industry,” he concluded.

Bolen was joined by the other panelists at the GAMA event in underscoring the need for a continued emphasis sustainability.

For example, Kurt Edwards, director general of the International Business Aviation Council, noted that reaching the net-zero carbon aim, as first outlined in the Business Aviation Commitment to Climate Change 15 years ago, will require continuing improvements in technology, modernization of the air traffic control system, an increase in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) – which can slash net-carbon emissions from aviation by as much as 80% – and other game-changing investments.

Edwards also discussed the need to expand book-and-claim programs, which allow operators to purchase SAF at an airport where it is unavailable and receive credit for it supply and use at an airport where it is available.

Curt Castagna, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association, added that SAF usage is climbing, but not fast enough. Noting that the fuel is available at about 30 airports in eight states, he pointed to a policy for catalyzing SAF production, availability and use. “We need to focus on proposals like the blenders’ tax credit to support more SAF production,” a concept backed by the group of 11 CLIMBING. FAST. campaign partner organizations.

Holger Krahmer, secretary general of the European Business Aviation Association, noted that while the public-perception challenge regarding business aviation and emissions is more pressing in Europe than in the US, the need to address it by articulating the industry’s sustainability leadership is common to both geographic regions. “We are leaders [on sustainability] in the transportation sector,” he said. “We need to showcase that leadership.”