London Gatwick introduces first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for flights

20 Oct 2021 by Tom Otley

London Gatwick is using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on all Easyjet flights during the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this year. The first of a total of 42 Easyjet flights departed yesterday and was powered by a 30 percent Neste SAF blend. It is the first time a departing flight at Gatwick has used sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and also the first usage by any easyJet service from the UK.

The SAF was delivered by Q8Aviation to Gatwick. The SAF, manufactured by Neste, is produced from 100 per cent renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. In its neat form and over its life cycle, Neste SAF can achieve a reduction of up to 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel use.

For delivery into aircraft, the SAF is blended with Jet A-1 fuel at a depot upstream of Gatwick Airport to create a drop-in fuel that is compatible with existing aircraft engines and the airport infrastructure. Q8Aviation then delivers the fuel to the main storage tanks at Gatwick Airport for supply to EasyJet aircraft via the airport’s hydrant system.

Gatwick Infographic-Sustainable-Aviation-Fuel-V4

The new service also sees Easyjet, in partnership with World Fuel Services, introducing an electric hydrant dispenser at the airport which will serve its fleet of 71 aircraft at Gatwick. It is the first in the UK and based on diesel equivalents which are estimated to burn 6630 litres of diesel every year, the new electric hydrant dispenser can reduce 18,000 kgs of CO2 emissions annually. The electric hydrant dispenser adds to the electric ground services equipment already supporting Easyjet aircraft operations at Gatwick Airport.

Of the 42 flights, 39 of these will be the Easyjet flights operating from Gatwick to Glasgow throughout the COP26 Climate Change Conference, which runs from 31 October to 12 November. Gatwick says that across all 42 flights, CO2 emissions will have been reduced by up to 70 tonnes.

Tim Norwood, Director of Corporate Affairs, Planning and Sustainability of Gatwick Airport said: “We are pleased to work with our partners to be the first airport in the VINCI Airport network to introduce SAF on a commercial flight and prove the concept that Gatwick is ready and able to operationally utilise SAF.  SAF is one of several ways that UK aviation and Gatwick will reach net zero carbon by 2050, alongside carbon offsets, airspace modernisation and continued innovation in aerospace technology, including electric, hydrogen and hybrid aircraft systems.  With smart Government policy to underpin investment in cost competitive UK SAF production, many more flights could be using UK produced SAF by the mid-2020s.”

Jonathan Wood, Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation at Neste said: “The aviation industry has already taken important steps to reduce its environmental impact. A key element in achieving this is the wider introduction of sustainable aviation fuel. Neste is investing as we speak to increase SAF production capacity from 100k metric tonnes to 1.5 m metric tonnes annually in 2023. Neste welcomes government proposals to encourage the use of SAF to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions. It is important that more and more airlines, airports and fuel suppliers lead the way to a more sustainable future for aviation. We are happy to welcome easyJet, Q8Aviation and Gatwick Airport among these frontrunners. “

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