British Airways becomes first airline to use UK sustainable jet fuel

'Breakthrough moment' as the airline receives its first batch of the fuel

A British Airways plane over Heathrow. The airline's sustainable fuel partnership will supply its fuel efficient fleet and have a direct pipeline feed to the London airport. Reuters
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British Airways (BA) said it has become the first airline in the world to use sustainable aviation jet fuel produced on a commercial scale in the UK, having taken delivery of its first consignment.

The airline signed a multi-year agreement with Phillips 66 Limited, which is producing thousands of tonnes of fuel for the airline.

It is produced from sustainable waste feedstock at the Humber Refinery near Immingham in east central England, and BA will add it to the pipeline infrastructure that directly feeds several UK airports including London Heathrow.

British Airways said in a statement that the sustainable fuel bought by the airline 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 Dreamliner.

“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," said Sean Doyle, British Airways chairman and chief executive.

“Our supplies of sustainable aviation fuel 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, to power 10 per cent of flights with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030."

In November, BA operated its first flight using sustainable fuel from London Heathrow to Glasgow to coincide with Cop26, the United Nations climate summit held in the Scottish city.

The airline said the flight demonstrated how “aviation is decarbonising”.

Sustainable aviation fuel production reduces carbon emissions by about 80 per cent compared with traditional jet fuel, but is currently more expensive. It can be blended with standard aviation fuel at up to 50 per cent.

The International Air Travel Association has committed to cut emissions to half of the 2005 level by 2050 and pledged carbon-neutral growth starting from 2020.

Commercial flying accounts for about 2 per cent of global carbon emissions.

About 60 companies in the aviation sector have pledged to increase the share of sustainable aviation fuels in the industry to 10 per cent by 2030, to help the world reach the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Boeing, meanwhile, has set an ambitious target that all of its commercial aircraft will be able to fly on 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuels by 2030.

In the UAE, Etihad's Greenliner programme flights were carried out using 38 per cent sustainable fuels.

Updated: May 17, 2023, 3:13 PM