The Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership was signed by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury in Doha yesterday, ahead of the IATA AGM.
Qantas Group and Airbus invest up to US$200 million
The landmark deal will see the Qantas Group and Airbus invest up to US$200 million to accelerate the establishment of a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia.
Due to the shortage of a local commercial-scale SAF industry, Australia is currently exporting millions of tonnes of feedstock every year, such as canola and animal tallow to be made into SAF in other countries.
The Qantas Group, which has committed to operating 10 percent SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030, is sourcing SAF overseas. This includes 15 percent of its fuel use out of London currently and 20 million liters each year for flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Australia from 2025.
Sustainable fuels cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 80 percent compared to traditional kerosene and are the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their impact on the environment – particularly provided they can be operated in today’s engines with no modifications.
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- The Qantas and Airbus partnership will invest in locally developed and produced SAF and feedstock initiatives. Projects will have to be commercially viable and meet a strict set of criteria around environmental sustainability.
The partnership is initially for five years with options to extend the duration. Qantas’ financial contribution to the Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership includes AU$50 million previously committed to the research and growth of SAF in Australia.
Qantas has begun a process of talking to its major corporate customers about their interest in accessing SAF offsets for their organization’s flying. This input is shaping the design of a program that could also be extended to individuals in an expansion of the existing offsetting program Qantas already has in place. This new program is expected to launch later this calendar year.
Qantas’s commitment to sustainability:
- In 2019, Qantas was the second airline in the world to commit to net zero emissions by 2050.
- The Qantas Group Climate Action Plan, released in March 2022, commits the airline group to an interim target of 25 percent emissions reduction and 10 percent SAF use in the fuel mix by 2030, and 60 percent SAF use by 2050.
- As part of its fleet replacement program declared in May, the Qantas Group confirmed buy rights to 94 A321XLR and A220 aircraft, which will reduce emissions by at least 15 percent if running on traditional fossil fuels.
- The Qantas Group’s landmark Project Sunrise program, which will initially use A350s to travel non-stop between Sydney and London and Sydney and New York, will be carbon neutral from day one.
- Qantas’ Fly Carbon Neutral program is one of the biggest airline offsetting programs in the world, with a focus on high-integrity projects in Australia and overseas. More than 10 percent of passengers elected to “tick the box” to offset flights. Offsetting is a key tool in Qantas’ decarbonization efforts, particularly while alternative aircraft fuel technology is still many years away.
- The Qantas Green Tier, launched earlier this year, allows the airline’s 14 million Frequent Flyers to access rewards for being more sustainable when they journey and at home.
Airbus climate action plan:
- Key pillars of the manufacturer’s climate action plan focus on fleet replacement with new fuel-efficient aircraft, the increased use of sustainable aviation fuels, optimized air traffic management, and ultimately the delivery of zero-emission aircraft by 2035.
- The Airbus aircraft selected by Qantas already deliver a reduction in fuel consumption of between up to 25 percent compared with previous generation aircraft.
- All current Airbus commercial aircraft are already certified to fly with up to 50 percent SAF.
- Since 2008, Airbus has acted as an important catalyst in the certification process, demonstration flights, partnerships, and policy advocacy of SAF.
- In 2021 the manufacturer performed its first test flight operating 100 percent SAF.
- Airbus targets approval for the 100 percent use of SAF on all its current commercial aircraft by 2030.
- Airbus is also investing in the development of zero-emission aircraft that will be powered by hydrogen with the first delivery targeted in 2035.
- Other studies include the potential use of synthetic fuels that will combine carbon feedstocks with renewable hydrogen.
- Airbus is completely committed to playing a leading role in the decarbonization of the aviation sector and industry goals to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050.
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