Big Steps: Korean Air Signs MoU with Shell

Last week saw another airline declare its commitment toward a more sustainable future, with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). SkyTeam member Korean Air signed an agreement alongside energy giant Shell Energy to receive sustainable air fuel (SAF) from them in 2026.

Korean Air aircraft flies through slightly cloudy blue sky.
The airline signed an agreement that would grant them access to a supply of Shell’s SAF | © Eddie Maloney

Sustainable Air Fuel is the Goal as Korean Air Signs MoU with Energy Company

The MoU in question is to secure a supply of SAF to airports within the Asia Pacific and Middle Eastern regions. SAF is a highly sort-after fuel by airlines because of the benefits it carries, specifically in helping reduce carbon emissions made by air travel. Many companies within the aviation sector are a part of the Paris agreement to become net-zero emissions carriers by 2050, and the use of SAF is considered the best way to achieve this goal. However, with its low supply and high cost, it is not the easiest fuel for companies to get their hands on.

An MoU between airlines and energy companies is one way of gaining access to SAF. Earlier last week, three airlines under the Tata Group umbrella signed a similar agreement with a research group to find a way to incorporate sustainable fuel into their fleets. In Korean Air’s case, their deal will allow them to use the energy company’s supply of SAF in 2026 for five years.

In 2017, Korean Air became the first Korean airline to use SAF as the air carrier operated a long-haul flight from Chicago to Incheon. Fast-forward to February of this year, the airline incorporated sustainable fuel on their Paris-Incheon route and is set to continue using SAF now that they’ve signed an MoU.

Korean Air debuted in 1969 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019.

Spacious airport in Incheon, South Korea.
One of the airports Korean Air serves is Incheon International Airport | © Arne Müseler / 

What are your thoughts on airlines signing MoUs with energy companies? Let us know in the comments!

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Kirsty Atek
Kirsty Atek
Kirsty Atek is a visual artist based in London who is interested in sustainability.


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