London Heathrow wants to triple the percentage of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) used at the UK hub airport this year.
The airport introduced a SAF incentive programme last year, which aims to cover up to 50 per cent of the extra cost of the fuel for airlines. Participants in the scheme include British Airways’ owner IAG, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, Air France, KLM and JetBlue.
Heathrow said the initiative was oversubscribed in 2022 and now wants to triple the amount of SAF supplied this year to around 1.5 per cent of the total fuel used at the airport. This would be an important next step in moving towards its target of using 11 per cent SAF by 2030.
The airport has also urged the UK government to “inject pace into the expansion of SAF with supportive policy making”. Currently wider use of the fuel is being held back by high costs and low production volumes.
It is calling for a “price support mechanism” to be introduced to help reduce the difference in cost between SAF and traditional jet fuel, as well as for the government to implement a mandate requiring airlines to use at least 10 per cent SAF by 2030.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye added: “Sustainable aviation fuel is not just about protecting the benefits of aviation in a net zero world - it’s about economic opportunity, creating jobs here in the UK and securing the country’s future energy supplies. Heathrow is now probably the biggest user of SAF in the world but it is currently all imported.
“If Britain really wants to compete with the scale of ambition and the credible action seen from the US and Europe, supportive government policy is needed and it is needed now.”
SAF, which is produced from waste products such as cooking oil and animal fat, can be used in existing aircraft engines and reduce emissions by up to 80 per cent compared with traditional jet fuel. The fuel featured as one of the industry’s major developments in BTN Europe’s 2023 Hotlist.