British Airways To Burn SAF on Domestic Flights for COP26

 - September 7, 2021, 12:21 PM
Airbus has painted one of British Airways' A320neos in a special livery to highlight the airline's sustainability efforts. (Photo: British Airways)

British Airways has inked a deal with BP to source sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for all its flights between London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh during November’s COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference, scheduled to take place in Glasgow under the presidency of the UK. The airline has bought enough SAF to power unblended flights between London City, Gatwick, and Heathrow airports and Glasgow and Edinburgh, even though the flights will burn a blend of renewable hydrocarbon and fossil-based conventional kerosene to meet certification requirements, which currently allow a 50/50 mix.

The new collaboration with BP forms part of British Airways’ new sustainability program, named BA Better World, which the company unveiled on Tuesday. It follows the recent commitment of the airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), to power 10 percent of its group-wide flight fuel needs with SAF by 2030. IAG plans to invest $400 million over the next 20 years in the development of SAF, and British Airways has formed partnerships with technology and fuel companies to develop SAF plants and purchase the fuel, including with Velocys in the UK and LanzaJet in the U.S.

Speaking at the program’s launch event at the airline’s engineering base at Heathrow Airport,  British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said it has embarked on its “most important journey yet—to a better, more sustainable future and one which will ensure the long-term success of our business."

“We’re clear that we have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet and have a detailed plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, including investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft, improving our operational efficiency, and investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and zero-emissions aircraft,” he added.

To give the BA Better World program visibility, the airline partnered with Airbus to paint one of its A320neos in new sustainability program colors. BA plans to operate several of the domestic COP26 flights with this aircraft.

BA also said that it added a SAF fuel option to its existing carbon offset program, whereby customers can purchase sustainable aviation fuel to reduce the carbon footprint of their journey.