Emirates has received what it says is its largest purchase of sustainable aviation fuel to date, with 3,000 tonnes having been delivered from Shell Aviation at Heathrow Airport.

The carrier said that the SAF “will be safely dropped into existing airport fuelling infrastructure and aircraft jet engines”.

Current rules allow for a maximum 50 per cent blend of SAF and conventional fuel.

Emirates said it was participating in Heathrow’s SAF Incentive Programme – a scheme which “provides a support mechanism to reduce the premium price gap between conventional jet fuel and SAF by approximately 50 per cent”.

The airline has already been using blended SAF at airports including Amsterdam Schiphol and Singapore Changi, and in November became the world’s first airline to operate an A380 demonstration flight using 100 per cent SAF.

Emirates becomes first airline to use 100 per cent SAF on an A380 flight

Shell Aviation has also previously supplied SAF to Emirates at Dubai International Airport.

Heathrow’s chief commercial officer Ross Baker said that “thanks to commitments from airlines like Emirates, we expect to support the use of up to 155,000 tonnes of SAF at Heathrow this year”, while Adel Al Redha, deputy president and chief operations officer at Emirates, said:

“Emirates is eager to take this next step in our SAF journey with Shell Aviation and London Heathrow supporting us with this fuel supply arrangement in one of our biggest operations outside of Dubai.

“The LHR Incentive Programme will support the SAF market’s increasing momentum, allowing airlines like Emirates to take advantage of its availability and make it more commercially viable.

“London Heathrow’s SAF initiative also demonstrates credible action to encourage the scale up and use of SAF by airlines, building local production capabilities grounded in real demand, in addition to developing capacities across the supply chain to blend, handle and distribute SAF more widely.

“We hope that the initiative receives collective support of government authorities to boost more investment in SAF production in the future.

“While Emirates explores opportunities to increase the use of SAF within our network, we’ll continue to take other steps to reduce our emissions, with a major focus around optimising flight operations including weight reduction of aircraft and charting more efficient flight routes, among other initiatives.”

Earlier this month Virgin Atlantic released the findings from the world’s first commercial transatlantic flight powered entirely by SAF.

Virgin’s ‘Flight100’ flew from London Heathrow to New York JFK in November 2023, operated by a Boeing 787-9 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines using 100 per cent SAF.

Virgin Atlantic reveals findings from 100 per cent SAF flight