UK flag carrier British Airways has become the first airline to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on a commercial scale.
British Airways to use SAF
British Airways have signed a multi-year contract with Phillips 66 Limited, an American multinational from Houston. Phillips 66 have opened a refinery in Humber, in the northeast of England, that will supply the airline with sustainable aviation fuel in the coming years. The fuel will be made from sustainable sources such as waste gases, crop and forestry residues, household and commercial waste and used cooking oil. British Airways’ Chairman Sean Doyle said:
“Being the first airline to source sustainable aviation fuel produced at commercial scale in the UK is another breakthrough moment for us and the airline industry.
“Our supplies of SAF from Phillips 66 Limited will allow us to progress with our ambitious roadmap to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner and will play a role in our commitment, as part of International Airlines Group (IAG), to power 10% of flights with SAF by 2030.”
The new fuel is said to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by over 80% compared to traditional jet fuel.
The need for sustainable aviation fuel
Fuel has been a particular focus for airlines and businesses in the last month, as the war in Ukraine drives up oil prices. Sanctions against Russia, a major oil supplier, have caused the price of jet fuel to rise by 35% in the past month, with highs of 85%. The increased cost of fuel has put a squeeze on airlines’ budgets, forcing many to cut routes and increase airfares. It is no wonder then, that BA is looking to diversify its interests.
Looking more broadly, the UK government has also been trying to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels in order to reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Earlier this month, it was announced that a green fuels project in Teeside would be receiving £1bn in investment from their Saudi owners. But even this gigantic project will only be able to supply enough SAF for one airline for one year, so there is clearly a long way to go.