Emirates has expanded its partnership with Finnish biofuel producer Neste for the supply of 3 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in 2024 and 2025, as the airline strives to reduce its carbon footprint.
The deal underpins the largest volume of SAF so far to be used by any Middle East and African airline, Emirates said on Wednesday.
The SAF will be blended with conventional jet fuel to power Emirates’ flights departing from Amsterdam Schiphol and Singapore Changi airports.
The agreement with Neste “represents the acceleration of SAF procurement for our operations”, Tim Clark, Emirates airline's president, said.
“We hope that the robust demand coming from Emirates and other airlines encourages the scaling up of SAF and other emerging clean propulsion technologies.”
The move comes as the world's biggest airline, and the largest operator of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777 wide-bodies, is increasing its use of alternative fuel.
Emirates in January partnered with Neste – alongside GE Aerospace, Boeing and Honeywell – to complete the first SAF-powered demonstration flight in the region, using a Boeing 777-300ER operating on 100 per cent SAF in one engine.
Earlier this month, Emirates signed an agreement with Shell Aviation for more than 300,000 gallons of blended SAF for use at its hub in Dubai for the first time.
In May, Emirates said it has allocated $200 million to fund research and development projects focused on advanced fuel technology that can reduce the environmental effect of commercial aviation.
The use of SAF on Emirates flights is among several other initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, which include operating fuel-efficient aircraft, stepping up its fleet renewal from 2024 and driving fuel efficiency, Mr Clark said.
“Sustainable aviation fuel is a readily available solution for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from air travel,” Alexander Kueper, vice president for Europe and the Middle East at Neste's renewable aviation business unit, said.
“We are ramping up our global SAF production and continue to support their commitment to reduce emissions.”
SAF, which refers to alternative fuels made from renewable sources that are used to power aircraft, is crucial for the global aviation industry to reach its net-zero goal by 2050.
However, its adoption is still in the early stages due to small-scale production and its higher cost, compared with conventional fuel.
The International Air Transport Association estimates that SAF could contribute about 65 per cent of the reduction in emissions needed by the aviation industry to reach its net-zero emissions aim by the middle of the century.