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British Airways launches sustainable aviation fuel scheme

British Airways passengers can now purchase sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) credits to reduce their carbon footprint as part of the airline’s sustainability programme.

The credit scheme, launched today with not-for-profit sustainability and decarbonisation organisation Pure Leapfrog, is in addition to the existing option for customers to offset their emissions.

BA said a partnership with oil and gas company BP meant it has access to enough sustainable aviation fuels to run carbon reduced flights between Loindon, Edinburgh and Glasgow for November’s COP26 Conference in Glasgow.

Emissions produced from SAFs release carbon that has already been released into the atmosphere, unlike emissions produced from traditional jet fuel which release carbon previously locked under the ground.

Speaking at the launch of BA Better World programme, in front of an Airbus 320neo aircraft with a new livery painted in the airline’s sustainability programme colours, Sean Doyle outlined the carrier’s efforts to be greener.

He said: “It is only through working in partnership with government and industry that we’ll be able to reach our targets.”

He said the move would “substantially reduce” emissions associated with taking customers to and from COP26 “by up to 80%” compared to traditional jet fuel.

Doyle added: “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.”

BA claims to have been the first airline to report carbon emissions to investors in 1992, and in 2002 it became the first carrier to participate in UK emissions trading.

SAF will power British Airways’ flights by the end of next year, said Doyle. He added: “Our commitment has not waivered even during the pandemic despite the incredible financial strain it has put us under.

“We know that BA Better World is going to be a pivotal moment for change. The [Airbus 320neo] aircraft is part of a much bigger story for BA in terms of how we emerge from the pandemic and how we thrive.”

BA is also switching from diesel to renewably powered electric pushback vehicles on the ground and removing weight from its aircraft by introducing lighter seats and trollies, in-flight magazines and paper flight manuals.

It has pledged to remove single-use plastic and source more products made from recycled materials and last year vowed to offset all emissions from its domestic flights.

BA parent International Airlines Group (IAG) is investing $400m over the next 20 years into the development of SAF.

“So far, this year at IAG, we became the first European airline group to commit to powering 10% of all flights by sustainable aviation fuel by 2030,” Doyle said.

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