(Australian Associated Press)
Qantas says the next federal government will need to have serious discussions about biofuel subsidies if the industry is to take off in Australia.
The carrier has already used biofuel, which is less carbon intensive than traditional jet fuel, flying from Los Angeles but says government will need to be fully committed if Australia is to rival leader California in terms of uptake.
Andrew Parker, Qantas group executive for sustainability, said the carrier had discussed the issue of establishing a local biofuel industry with federal government and opposition in the hope of swift progress after this month’s federal election.
“We need to work on the detail quite quickly because, cutting to the chase, there will be a premium on biofuels and there will be a cost disadvantage versus typical jet fuel,” Mr Parker said on Wednesday.
“The reason California is so far ahead of the rest of the world is that California has put a lot of subsidy into the biofuels industry.”
In 2018, Qantas operated the world’s first dedicated biofuel flight between the US and Australia and aims to start using a biofuel mix on services between the countries from 2020.
Speaking after a Qantas Boeing 737 completed the world’s first waste-free commercial flight, Mr Parker said the carrier has talked the issue over at federal and state level, with Queensland particularly keen to support a biofuels industry.
“This is the year we hope to get a breakthrough in terms of commitment and investments,” Mr Parker said.
“After waste, that’s going to be our next environmental focus.”
Qantas has had recent success in securing political support for large scale projects, with more than 60 cities around Australia pitching to host the airline’s new pilot training facility.
With the facility likely to boost the local economy of its host and address a looming skills shortage, Toowoomba was selected last year as the site of the $35 million school.
“‘Government saw absolutely a need at federal and state level,” Mr Parker said.
“We are really ambitious that whoever is the next federal government will work with us.”