American Airlines has received the aviation industry’s first-ever Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)-certified sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

This is the first time that a batch of CPRSIA-certified SAF has been delivered to a commercial airline. The SAF certification process under CORSIA is new, so American Airlines and supplier Neste has set up a pilot project to certify a batch of SAF to understand its challenges. The aim is to certify SAF as a CORSIA eligible fuel that can be used by an airline to meet its emissions obligation under CORSIA.

What is CORSIA

The airlines took possession of the batch of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation FuelTM at San Francisco International Airport.

Until now CORSIA has been focussed on offsetting efforts. The inclusion of SAF is another way the aviation industry hopes to encourage use and production of SAF.

“Sustainable aviation fuel is widely acknowledged as a key element in achieving the aviation industry’s goals of carbon neutral growth from 2020 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Thorsten Lange, Neste’s Executive Vice President, Renewable Aviation. “The pilot with American Airlines was a perfect opportunity for proving the feasibility of delivering CORSIA certified SAF and gaining useful insights into setting up the process and the challenges we need to overcome to enable the implementation of CORSIA.”

“American is proud to partner with Neste to demonstrate how SAF can meet the robust sustainability standards that ICAO has established for CORSIA,” said Jill Blickstein, Head of ESG at American. “Our work together will also help demonstrate to American’s customers that SAF can meet these high standards.”

Compliance with the CORSIA sustainability criteria requires an independent attestation by an ICAO-approved Sustainability Certification Scheme (SCS). Neste decided to pursue this certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system.

“Cooperation with American, ISCC and all other stakeholders involved was absolutely critical in achieving this important milestone,” Thorsten Lange said. “We will be sharing our experiences in ICAO’s upcoming Environmental Report. Because in the end, we need cooperation with all stakeholders within the aviation industry to achieve the ambitious emission reduction goals.”