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Qantas to purchase SAF for Heathrow flights

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Qantas will purchase blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), helping to reduce its carbon emissions by around 10% for its flights from London.

It is the first time an Australian airline will purchase SAF on an ongoing basis for regular scheduled services.

The national carrier has signed an agreement with strategic partner bp to purchase 10 million litres of SAF in 2022 with an option to purchase up to another 10 million litres in 2023 and 2024 for flights from Heathrow Airport. This represents up to 15% of Qantas’ annual fuel use out of London.

The fuel will be produced with certified bio feedstock from used cooking oil and/or other waste products. This is then blended with normal jet fuel.

The use of SAF is increasing globally – particularly in Europe, the UK and United States – as governments and industry work together to find ways to steadily decarbonise the aviation sector.

Qantas is in discussions about accessing SAF at its other overseas ports, such as Los Angeles, and recently joined other oneworld airlines in signing a memorandum of understanding to use SAF for flights from San Francisco from 2024. These volume agreements are crucial to bringing the cost of SAF down, which can be several times more expensive than traditional jet kerosene.

Qantas Group chief sustainability officer Andrew Parker said sustainable aviation fuel was key to the airline meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050 and its interim target, which will be released in the first half of next year.

“We know that climate change is incredibly important for our customers, employees and investors and it is a major focus for the national carrier as we come out of a difficult couple of years,” Mr Parker said.

“Zero emission technology like electric aircraft or green hydrogen are still a very long way off for aviation, and even further away for long haul flights like London to Australia. SAF and high quality carbon offsetting are therefore critical on the path to net zero.

“Aviation biofuels typically deliver around an 80 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to the jet fuel it is replacing and is the most significant tool airlines have to reduce their impact on the environment.”