International Airlines Group (IAG) and Microsoft have announced what they say is “the largest co-funded purchase agreement for Sustainable Aviation Fuel emissions reductions globally, where both parties are funding part of the cost of the supply”.

The deal will see the two groups purchase 14,700 tonnes of Sustainable Aviation Fuel from Phillips 66 Limited’s Humber refinery

For IAG the purchase is part of its target to meet 10 per cent of its fuel needs from SAF by 2030, while for Microsoft the agreement will enable the group to reduce its Scope 3 emissions and make progress towards its goal of being carbon negative by 2030.

The fuel will be supplied to IAG member carriers British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling operating from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports during 2023.

IAG recently announced an investment in Nova Pangaea Technologies, a Teesside-based cleantech company.

The firm’s technology converts agricultural waste and wood residue feedstocks into second-generation bioethanol, which can then be processed into SAF.

IAG invests in cleantech company Nova Pangaea Technologies

Jonathon Counsell, head of sustainability at IAG said that “Strong commercial partnerships like this will help stimulate the global investment needed to build and sustain a commercially viable SAF market”, while Julia Fidler, environmental sustainability fuel and materials decarbonization lead at Microsoft, commented:

“Reducing emissions from aviation through decarbonisation efforts such as this, whilst recognising the societal and economic benefits of flying requires increased commitment from all stakeholders.

“This agreement represents a new milestone in SAF purchasing that will allow Microsoft to address emissions from both our business travel and freight for our cloud supply chain, while helping to fund future SAF development and scale the market as a whole.”

For our recent feature looking at developments in SAF, and the challenges facing the aviation industry in scaling up its use, see:

Sustainable Aviation Fuel: In the pipeline,