Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus announced this Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with U.S based sustainable aviation fuel provider Gevo.

Another long-term SAF deal 

According to a statement released by Aer Lingus, the agreement between the two parties will see the purchase of 19,000 tonnes (6.3 million gallons) of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) per year for five years, beginning in 2026. 

Aer Lingus is part of IAG as a wholly owned subsidiary and, as a result, has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and has committed to powering at least 10% of its flights using SAF by 2030. This 5-year long commitment with Gevo will certainly help the carrier towards its goals – SAF will fuel the airline’s services from the U.S West Coast. 

The value of the agreement is estimated at $173 million and is part of a larger oneworld alliance – of which Aer Lingus is a part – for 200 million gallons from Gevo. 

The SAF supply from Gevo will see the Dublin-based carrier reduce its lifecycle CO2 by at least 180,000 tonnes. 

Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus CEO, commented on the exciting new deal for the carrier:

“This agreement with Gevo marks an exciting and critical step on our journey to net-zero carbon emissions and underlines our commitment to powering 10% of flights using sustainable aviation fuel by 2030. The sustainable aviation fuel produced by Gevo will be used to power our flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco and, from 2026, 50% of fuel purchased by Aer Lingus from California will be sustainable aviation fuel.” 

Gevo or Neste? 

Finnish oil refining and marketing company Neste has been the popular choice thus far for airlines when it comes to SAF orders. 

Gevo is a new and upcoming company but almost definitely one that you will be hearing more from in the coming years. 

Its mission is to transform renewable energy and carbon into energy-dense liquid hydrocarbons that can be used for various drop-in transportation fuels such as jet fuel, petrol, and diesel that, when burned, will likely produce net-zero greenhouse emissions when measured across the entire lifecycle of the products.

Gevo’s CEO, Dr. Patrick R. Gruber, believes that its SAF will have an immediate impact on airlines’ achieving their sustainability targets ahead of schedule because it is fungible and drop-in ready. 

Gevo uses “low-carbon renewable resource-based carbohydrates” to produce its fuel, while Neste uses “100% renewable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste”. 

Time will tell which SAF provider will prove most common amongst airlines. 

Aer Lingus’ sustainability initiatives 

Separately, the Irish carrier has been working elsewhere to improve its impact on the climate. 

In March of this year, Aer Lingus replaced plastic cutlery packs with packs made from birch wood, resulting in a reduction of almost 23 tonnes of single-use plastics per year. A digital alternative to newspapers and magazines was also introduced onboard to save 14 tonnes of paper per year, according to the carrier. 

Last month, Aer Lingus signed a lease agreement for two of the more efficient Airbus A320neo aircraft. 

a320neo
The Airbus A320neo, according to Airbus’ website, features two advanced engines that provide “outstanding operational, economic, and environmental performance.” | © Airbus

The carrier has opted to reduce fuel burn during take-off and landing – this saves a total of 8.6kg of fuel per flight on take-off and up to 5.4kg of fuel per flight on landing (based on normal flight conditions). 

Aer Lingus’ Ground Operations team at its hub, Dublin Airport, has introduced 3 electric vehicles to the ground fleet to reduce the use of diesel and petrol vehicles. 

What do you make of Aer Lingus’ SAF partnership with Gevo? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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