British Airways owner International Airlines Group aims to power 10% of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.
The group plans to purchase one million tonnes of sustainable jet fuel a year, enabling it to cut its annual emissions by two million tonnes by 2030 – equating to the removal of one million cars from Europe’s roads each year.
The initiative came as a Skyscanner poll found that 44% of UK travellers and 38% in the US said they would be more likely to fly with an airline if it was using or investing in greener fuel options.
IAG will also be working with its suppliers to enable them to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 for the products and services they provide.
The group is spending $400 million in the development of sustainable aviation fuel in the next 20 years, including Europe’s first household waste-to-jet fuel plant in the UK which is due to start operations in 2025.
Up to 14 plants could be built across the UK in the next decade, creating 6,500 jobs and saving 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 per annum. Sustainable jet fuel produces at least 70% less carbon emissions than fossil fuel.
Sustainable aviation fuel developers, LanzaJet and Velocys, are working with IAG and BA is set to buy sustainable jet fuel from LanzaJet’s US plant to power some flights from late 2022.
IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said: “For more than a decade, IAG has led the airline industry’s actions to reduce its carbon footprint.
“It’s clearly challenging to transition to a low carbon business model but, despite the current pandemic, we remain resolute in our climate commitments.
“Government support is critical to meet this target by attracting investment to construct sustainable aviation fuel plants that will deliver enough supply for the airline industry, creating highly valued green jobs and economic growth at global scale.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Just this week we’ve set the world’s most ambitious climate change target, and IAG’s agenda-setting commitment is clear evidence of the progress we are making.
“These kinds of initiatives, along with our work through the Jet Zero Council, will help us rapidly accelerate towards our net zero targets as we build back better out of the pandemic.”