British Airways to use ‘sustainable’ aviation fuel during climate summit

Posted by David Henning on 8 September 2021

British Airways is inviting its passengers to buy so-called ‘sustainable aviation fuel’ (SAF). Payments for SAF will be offered to passengers alongside the existing option to purchase carbon offsets by investing in projects such as reforestation.

Moneyweb reported that the carrier announced on 7 September that it will source enough fuel to power all flights between London and Scotland’s two busiest airports during the COP26 climate summit to be held in Glasgow in November this year.

With air travel contributing around 2.5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the aviation industry is a source of contention amongst environmental groups. The aviation industry is then committed to combat to combating climate change and has committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 50% in 2050.

British Airways will source SAF from Beyond Petroleum (BP), raising questions of corporate greenwashing and shifting the responsibility to the consumer.

According to Flight Global, SAF’s have been touted as the solution to the aviation industry’s large CO2 emissions. In November 2020 Blueprint for a Green Recovery report, the aviation environmental coalition, Air Transport Action Group stated that a rapid and worldwide scale-up of SAF is ‘perhaps the single largest opportunity to meet and go beyond the industry’s 2050 goal.

The World Economic Forum November 2020 report, Clean Skies for Tomorrowmentions that there is no silver bullet for addressing decarbonisation within aviation, but that ‘SAF is a necessary asset in the transition.’

What is Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

Even though it may contain the word ‘sustainable,’ it is not pollution-free. The word refers to the improvement in reducing CO2 emissions in the production process, which absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere.

SAF is produced from waste oils e such as used cooking oil, solid waste that would otherwise go to a landfill. This is then converted to SAF in a refinery, similar to the production of conventional fuel. BP’s SAF is currently made from used cooking oil and animal waste fat.

The SAF is then blended with conventional jet fuel make it suitable for aircraft engines. According to Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), SAF’s emissions are premised on CO2 being absorbed by plants during the growth of biomass for fuel roughly equivalent to the amount produced when the fuel is burned in a combustion engine.


The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Glasgow between 1 and 12 November 2021. All eyes will be on Glasgow after the IPCC didn’t hold back on the urgency of the environmental crisis in their recent sixth annual report.

The landmark study warned of increasing heatwaves droughts and flooding, with a key temperature limit broken over the past decade. The UN chief, António Guterres was reported stating that this ‘is a code red for humanity’ going on to emphasise the importance of COP26:

‘If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success,’ Guterres added.


British Airways plans to resume Cape Town flights in November

Picture: Unsplash


yoast-primary -
tcat - Travel news
tcat_slug - travel-news
tcat2 -
tcat2_slug -
tcat_final -