The CEO of Heathrow airport said the only way to get to net zero aviation by 2050 was to change the fuel used in existing planes from kerosene to Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).
John Holland-Kaye made the comments after attending the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow in November.
He said: “You can blend SAF with kerosene in existing planes, so the faster you scale up, the faster you decarbonise. Unlike other sectors, you don’t have to change the entire system, just the fuel. You can fly from Heathrow to Moscow with SAF and return using kerosene.
“This is a critical advantage over electric and hydrogen-based solutions, which require both ends of the route to have the same facilities.
“The challenge is to massively scale up production and get the cost down as SAF is currently two to four times more expensive. We need a progressively increasing mandate from governments for an increasing proportion of SAF to be blended with kerosene.”
Earlier this year, Heathrow secured over £100 million (€115 million) in government funding as it aims to be one of the world’s first major carbon neutral aviation hubs.
This followed a commitment from the UK aviation industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through working with governments around the world and through the UN.
Heathrow will be rolling out an action plan for the next 10 years – called ‘Target Net-Zero’ – that backs the UK aviation industry’s commitment.
The plan will outline how Heathrow will decarbonise the airport’s infrastructure and play a role in supporting the entire UK aviation industry to get to net-zero carbon emissions, by working with its partners on the ground and in the air to develop sustainable aviation fuels and electric aircraft.”
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