Heathrow has successfully incorporated sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into its operation.
Working alongside Vitol Aviation and Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel, the fuel will be blended to use across flights operating at Heathrow. While the fuel supply may be comparatively small – equivalent to fuelling 5-10 short haul flights – this commercial delivery will establish proof of concept at the UK’s largest airport. Achieving this milestone is a critical first step in demonstrating to Government that the technology will work in reducing carbon from aviation so long as the correct policy framework to incentivise take up at scale is achieved.
Vitol Aviation’s expertise in the specialist handling of jet fuel will be combined with Neste’s market-leading SAF production capabilities. Neste MY SAF is produced 100% from renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal and fish fat waste. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel in its neat form and over the life cycle, reduces up to 80%* of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel use.
Increasing the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is the key tool in the decarbonisation of aviation. Together with other technologies, it offers a pathway to achieving net zero aviation in line with the Paris Agreement.
The announcement marks the next step in Heathrow and the UK aviation sector’s plan for net zero flying. To achieve rapid scale up of production of SAFs, Heathrow is calling for the UK Government to set escalating mandates that requires a minimum of 10% SAF use by airlines by 2030, increasing to at least 50% by 2050. This should be alongside commercial incentives for airlines to stimulate demand and foster investment, and to help ensure the UK is at the forefront of SAF production.
Heathrow has already been engaging with partners including airlines on committing to SAF so the UK’s hub can achieve its objective to become one of the most sustainable airports in the world. 58% of Heathrow airlines by air traffic movements have committed to 10% SAF usage by 2030. The Committee on Climate Change’s most optimistic projection for SAF usage by 2030 was 7%, demonstrating Heathrow flights are already 84% on the way towards this projection.
Heathrow chief executive officer, John Holland-Kaye said: “Now is the time for less talk and more action and Ministers should set an escalating mandate to blend SAF into fuel and provide incentives that are stable over 5-10 years to foster investment in production, with a target of 10% by 2030 and at least 50% by 2050.”