British Airways adds sustainable fuel option in combination with carbon offsets

7 Sep 2021 by Tom Otley
BA-A320 Better World Livery

British Airways has added a sustainable aviation (SAF) fuel option to its carbon offset programme.

The new option means that at the time of booking passengers can not only offset their journey and donate to one of three offset projects, but also choose to pay more and buy the equivalent of 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel for their flight.

As an example of pricing, a return flight from London to Hong Kong in business class will cost £24.10 to offset, but £151.79 to offset with 10 per cent of emissions covered by SAF.

The new initiative came at the launch of its new ‘BA Better World’ sustainability programme, with the airline partnering with Airbus to paint one of its most modern, fuel-efficient A320neos in new sustainability programme colours.

The airline has also announced a new collaboration with BP to source SAF in respect of all its flights between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh during the UK COP26 conference.

It has purchased the equivalent amount of SAF to attribute 100 per cent of it for flights between London City, Gatwick and Heathrow airports and Glasgow and Edinburgh

The airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), is investing $400m over the next 20 years into the development of SAF, with British Airways forming partnerships with a number of technology and fuel companies to develop SAF plants and purchase the fuel, including with Velocys in the UK and LanzaJet in the US.

British Airways, as part of an IAG commitment, recently stated it would power 10 per cent of its fuel needs with SAF by 2030.

Speaking at the event, British Airways CEO and Chairman Sean Doyle said:

“With BA Better World we’re on our most important journey yet – to a better, more sustainable future and one which will ensure the long-term success of our business. We’re clear that we have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet and have a detailed plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, including investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft, improving our operational efficiency and investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and zero emissions aircraft.

“It is only through working in partnership with Government and industry that we’ll be able to reach our targets and I’m delighted that, thanks to our new collaboration with bp, we’re able to source enough sustainable aviation fuel with respect to all our flights between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh during COP26, substantially reducing the emissions associated with taking our customers to and from COP26 by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel. This commitment for COP26 is in addition to the mandatory carbon trading we already operate in the UK and our own further voluntary carbon offsetting of our UK domestic flights.”

Martin Thomsen, CEO of BP’s aviation division commented:

“We are thrilled to collaborate with British Airways by supplying sustainable aviation fuel with respect to all of its flights from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh for the COP26 event.  Our companies have a long-standing relationship and will continue to work together on sustainable aviation fuel supply initiatives on an on-going basis.

“At BP we want to help decarbonize the aviation industry and we will continue to collaborate with industry stakeholders and governments to explore viable options to help scale up sustainable aviation fuel more broadly.”

At today’s event the airline showcased some of the initiatives it has introduced to improve sustainability in the air and on the ground, including switching from diesel to renewably powered electric pushback vehicles and removing weight from its aircraft by introducing lighter seats and trollies, inflight magazines and paper flight manuals.

It also outlined its efforts to remove single-use plastic and source more products made from recycled materials, including its First Class duvet and World Traveller Plus amenity kits.

British Airways also announced a new BA Better World Community Fund for the work it does in the UK and in the destinations it flies to.

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