Jet2 boss urges government action on UK SAF production

The boss of Jet2 has urged government action to encourage UK production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with a warning that limited supplies will put the industry and holidaymakers “at a disadvantage”.

The call came as revealed plans to start using a blend of SAF from a second UK airport.

Flights departing from Stansted will join those flying from Bristol airport this year  – almost 12 months ahead of the government’s SAF mandate which is due to be introduced from 2025.

The UK’s third largest airline has purchased approximately 650 tonnes of SAF from Shell Aviation, which will be used to add a 1% SAF blend onto a number of departing flights from Stansted.

This means that has purchased about 1,000 tonnes of SAF Across the two airports.

When used in its neat form, SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to using conventional jet fuel, according to the carrier.

Using a SAF blend in 2024 means the airline can prepare its operation ahead of the UK SAF mandate, which will be introduced from January 1, 2025.

As part of this mandate, fuel suppliers have been set a target that at least 10% of jet fuel should be made from SAF by 2030.

Parent company Jet2 has already made an equity investment into a new SAF production plant to be constructed in the northwest of England.

The Fulcrum NorthPoint facility, being developed by Fulcrum BioEnergy, will operate as a waste-to-fuels plant, with set to receive more than 200 million litres of SAF once operational. 

The SAF investment is part of and Jet2holidays’ move to net zero by 2050, in line with government targets, although the company aspires to bring this date forward.

The company has published a sustainability strategy which outlines its targets and actions, with an update due to be released this year.

Pledges in the strategy include the purchase of 110 fuel efficient Airbus A320/A321neo aircraft, which could eventually extend up to 146 aircraft.

However, the UK remains reliant on fuel imported at a high-cost or requires airlines to pay a “buy-out” price without a fully-fledged domestic SAF industry, putting UK airlines and holidaymakers at a competitive disadvantage. and Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said: “Today’s announcement further demonstrates the tangible actions that we are taking to mitigate our climate impacts, and it means will be using a SAF blend from London Stansted in 2024, in addition to Bristol airport.

“We see SAF as critical in helping the industry decarbonise and as well as doing this, we can use this to ensure our operations are ready for SAF uptake both now and in the future, when we anticipate its use will grow materially. We very much see 1% as the starting point and we want to grow this over the coming years.”

But he added: “Unfortunately, there is still some way to go and without more supplies of UK SAF and greater support to incentivise its uptake and reduce its cost, our industry and UK holidaymakers are at a disadvantage.

“The UK government must implement the price revenue mechanism earlier than the current timeline of 2026 which means we can secure investor confidence, build the UK SAF plants that we need, and turbocharge the UK SAF industry.”

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