International Airlines Group (IAG) marked Earth Day on Thursday by committing to powering 10 percent of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030. The group said it would buy 1 million tonnes of SAF per year, resulting in a reduction in annual emissions by 2 million tonnes within nine years. That equates to removing a million cars from Europe’s roads each year, British Airways’ parent company noted.
IAG also lays claim as the first airline group to extend its net-zero commitment to its supply chain. The group said it will work with its suppliers to allow them to commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 for the products and services they provide to IAG.
“For more than a decade, IAG has led the airline industry’s actions to reduce its carbon footprint,” said IAG chief executive Luis Gallego. “It’s clearly challenging to transition to a low carbon business model but, despite the current pandemic, we remain resolute in our climate commitments.”
Gallego stressed the importance of government support in attracting investment to build enough SAF plants to sufficiently supply the airline industry.
“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,” said UK transport secretary Grant Shapps. “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.”
IAG asserts that with the “right policy in place,” the UK could see the construction of as many as 14 plants across the country, creating 6,500 jobs and saving 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 per annum over the next decade.
IAG has committed to investing $400 million in SAF development in the next 20 years. The group’s partnership with SAF developers LanzaJet and Velocys includes Europe’s first household waste-to-jet fuel plant in the UK, scheduled to start operations in 2025. British Airways also plans to purchase SAF from LanzaJet’s U.S. plant to power some of its flights from late 2022.