British Airways is to begin powering selected flights with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), following the delivery of its first supply of SAF from Phillips 66 Ltd.
In December the flag carrier unveiled a deal with Phillips 66 to purchase SAF produced at the group’s Humber Refinery, and said that it is now “the first airline in the world to start using SAF produced on a commercial scale in the UK”.
BA’s original press release stated that it would power “a number of flights with Sustainable Aviation Fuel”. The carrier has now provided Business Traveller with some clarification on this, stating that “when we buy SAF it is added into the existing fuel pipeline at strategic locations with such SAF having been blended with conventional fossil fuel before it reaches the aircraft”.
“This essentially means that hundreds of flights could be operating with a SAF blend in the fuel mix at low levels,” the airline continued.
“Similar to green energy tariffs, where there isn’t a special ‘green grid’ that sends renewable-only energy to your home if you’re on a renewable energy tariff, there isn’t a special SAF infrastructure that means sustainable aviation fuel can be delivered to a specific flight at scale.
“One of the key benefits of SAF, is that it is a ‘drop-in solution’ and can be used now as a direct replacement for fossil-based jet fuel and delivered as part of the existing aviation fuel supply infrastructure. BA’s SAF supply will in effect will be the first to help ‘green’ the UK’s jet fuel supply.”
BA first powered selected flights with a blend of SAF last year – in September the carrier operated a flight between London and Glasgow powered by 35 per cent SAF, and in November BA powered a flight between London Heathrow and New York JFK with a similar mix of SAF. Both of these services were powered by SAF supplied by BP.
With the delivery of the first batch of SAF from Phillips 66 British Airways also lays claim to be “the first airline in the world to start using SAF produced on a commercial scale in the UK”.
The airline said that the partnership “will be enough to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by almost 100,000 tonnes, enough to power 700 net zero CO2 emissions flights between London and New York on its fuel-efficient Boeing 787 aircraft”.
Last year BA’s parent company IAG signed a Memorandum of Understanding with sustainable fuels technology firm Velocys, for the purchase of an expected 73 million gallons of SAF.
Meanwhile BA has also published its 2021 Sustainability Report, which examines “the progress and milestones achieved last year and following the launch of its BA Better World programme”.
The carrier has also published the first video in a “sustainability docuseries”, explaining how sustainable aviation fuel is produced, and how emissions benefits are delivered.
Finally BA said that customers on short-haul European flights can now make a £2.50 contribution to carbon reduction projects through the carrier’s onboard Speedbird Café menu app, with the amount representing the carbon compensation of an average British Airways European return flight per customer.
Commenting on the news Sean Doyle, British Airways’ chairman and chief executive, 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 per cent of flights with SAF by 2030.
“Progressing the development and commercial scale up of sustainable aviation fuel will be a game changer and crucial to reducing the aviation sector’s reliance on fossil fuels and improving the UK’s energy supply resilience.
“I’m confident that Britain can take a leading role on the global stage in this space, creating green jobs and export opportunities, if industry, developers and Government continue to collaborate and make it a key focus area.”