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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 31-Mar-2022

Analysis

This regular CAPA report provides a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news. This latest issue features:

Airbus performs first A380 flight powered by 100% SAF

Qantas Airways releases Qantas Group Climate Action Plan

British Airways takes first delivery of SAF from Phillips 66 Limited

Pratt & Whitney and Air bp sign MoU on sustainable aviation fuel

Bordeaux Airport signs biodiversity protection agreement

This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.

Airbus performs first A380 flight powered by 100% SAF

Airbus performed (28-Mar-2022) its first A380 flight powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on 25-Mar-2022.

The flight lasted approximately three hours and took off from Toulouse Blagnac Airport, powering one Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine with 100% SAF.

Total Energies provided 27 tonnes of unblended SAF for the flight.

It is the third Airbus aircraft type to fly on 100% SAF over the course of 12 months, the first was an A350 in Mar-2021 followed by an A319neo in Oct-2021.

All Airbus aircraft are currently certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene.

The company aims to achieve certification of 100% SAF by the end of 2030. [more - original PR]

Original report: First A380 powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel takes to the skies

First A380 powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel takes to the skies

Airbus has performed a first A380 flight powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

AirbusA380 test aircraft MSN 1 took off from Blagnac Airport, Toulouse, France at 08h43 on Friday 25 March. The flight lasted about three hours, operating one Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine on 100% SAF.

27 tonnes of unblended SAF were provided by Total Energies for this flight. The SAF produced in Normandy, close to Le Havre, France, was made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), free of aromatics and sulphur, and primarily consisting of used cooking oil, as well as other waste fats. A second flight, with the same aircraft, is scheduled to take place from Toulouse to Nice Airport, on the 29 March to test the use of SAF during take-off and landing.

This is the third Airbus aircraft type to fly on 100% SAF over the course of 12 months; the first was an Airbus A350 in March 2021 followed by an A319neo single-aisle aircraft in October 2021. 

Increasing the use of SAF remains a key pathway to achieving the industry’s ambition of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Key statistics outlined in the Waypoint 2050 report indicate that SAF could contribute between 53% and 71% of required carbon reductions.

All Airbus aircraft are currently certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene. The aim is to achieve certification of 100% SAF by the end of this decade.

The A380 aircraft used during the test is the same aircraft recently revealed as Airbus’ ZEROe Demonstrator - a flying testbed for future technologies instrumental to bringing the world’s first zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035.

Qantas Airways releases Qantas Group Climate Action Plan

Qantas Group released (31-Mar-2022) its Qantas Group Climate Action Plan, making sustainability a key pillar of decision making across all areas of the business.

As part of the plan, Qantas announced key targets for fuel efficiency and the uptake of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which will be critical for reaching net zero emissions, as well as reducing waste and continuing to grow the Group's carbon offsetting program.

These targets for reducing its environmental footprint include:

  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF): 10% use of SAF in the Group's fuel mix by 2030, and approximately 60% by 2050;
  • Waste reduction: Zero single use plastics by 2027 and zero general waste (excluding quarantine waste) to landfill by 2030;
  • Fuel efficiency: Increase fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% p/a to 2030. Achieved through updating aircraft fleet and using more efficient flight planning, while continuing research into next generation technologies, including hydrogen and battery power;
  • Offsets: Continue to build our offsetting program particularly into key Australian projects.

The carrier also announced an interim target to reduce carbon emissions by 25% (based on 2019 levels) by 2030.

The reduction is designed to accelerate that progress and provide a short term focus for the Group.

This includes integrating climate change considerations into the Group's financial framework and linking performance against targets to executive remuneration from FY23 onwards, including considering a cost of carbon in financial decisions. [more - original PR]

Original report: QANTAS ZEROS IN ON EMISSIONS WITH INTERIM TARGET

The Qantas Group today outlined the specific steps it is taking to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including an interim target to reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2030.

The national carrier today released its Qantas Group Climate Action Plan, making sustainability a key pillar of decision making across all areas of the business.

As part of the plan, Qantas announced key targets for fuel efficiency and the uptake of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which will be critical for reaching net zero emissions, as well as reducing waste and continuing to grow the Group’s industry-leading carbon offsetting program.

These targets for reducing its environmental footprint include:

  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)  10 per cent use of SAF in the Group’s fuel mix by 2030, and approximately 60 per cent by 2050.
  • Waste reduction – Zero single-use plastics by 2027 and zero general waste (excluding quarantine waste) to landfill by 2030.
  • Fuel efficiency – Increase fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5 per cent per year to 2030. Achieved through updating our aircraft fleet and using more efficient flight planning, while continuing research into next generation technologies, including hydrogen and battery power.
  • Offsets – continue to build our offsetting program particularly into key Australian projects.

Qantas also announced today it is signing a Memorandum of Understanding with ANZ and INPEX for a major integrated reforestation and carbon farming project in Western Australia’s wheatbelt region, an area the size of Belgium in the south west of the state (see separate release).

The project would see marginal farming land replanted with sustainable, drought-resistant native plant species, which aims to improve the environment and generate Australian carbon credits to help offset the three companies’ future carbon footprints. Longer term, it would also create a potential source for sustainable aviation fuel production from cut back mallee trees.

Interim emissions target:

The Qantas Group was one of the first airlines to commit to net zero emissions by 2050. Today’s announcement of an interim target of 25 per cent reduction by 2030 (based on 2019 levels) is designed to accelerate that progress and provide a short-term focus for the Group.

This includes integrating climate change considerations into the Group’s financial framework and linking performance against targets to executive remuneration from FY23 onwards, including considering a cost of carbon in financial decisions.

Building a biofuels industry:

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is critical to the decarbonisation of the industry. Qantas is today setting a target of 10 per cent SAF in fuel uptake by 2030, and approximately 60 per cent by 2050.

Qantas has already started flying with SAF sourced from overseas, with 15 per cent of fuel used out of London comprised of SAF since the beginning of 2022. A second major supply deal has been signed for almost 20 million litres a year of blended SAF out of Californian airports from 2025, with options to increase amounts as production increases. Negotiation on other offshore supply agreements are underway.

SAF is produced from certified bio feedstock, including used cooking oil, sugar cane, forestry residues, animal tallow and other waste products. It is blended with normal jet fuel and produces up to 80 per cent less emissions on a life cycle basis when compared with traditional jet kerosene.

The Qantas Group has committed an initial $50 million towards establishment of an Australia-based SAF industry, and is calling on all levels of government to also lend support to ensure Australia manufactures the biofuel like the UK, US and Europe already are.

Waste reduction:

Qantas is today committing to a target of zero single use plastics before 2027, which means every Qantas or Jetstar flight will use products in compostable or recyclable packaging. A small number of health and safety items onboard will remain plastic, but we are committed to exploring alternatives.

By 2030, Qantas is targeting to have all of its Australian-based operations completely free of ‘general waste’, including flights, lounges and office buildings. This means any waste generated by Qantas operations is planned to be diverted through recycling or organic waste programs or converted into energy.

Before the pandemic, Qantas committed to reducing 75 per cent of onshore waste to landfill by 2021, as well as the removal of a total of 100 million single use plastic items. Due to COVID some of these initiatives were temporarily paused, and we now expect to reach this target by 2023.

Fleet renewal:

In December, Qantas selected Airbus’s A320neo and A220 families as the preferred aircraft for Qantas’s long-term fleet renewal program, which should deliver up to 20 per cent fuel savings compared to the Boeing 717s and 737s it currently operates. A firm order is expected to be finalised by mid-2022. Jetstar will take delivery of the first of 18 A321LRs in July 2022.

The fleet renewal program has already seen Qantas’s 747s fleet retired early and replaced by the Boeing 787s, which use 20 per cent less fuel than aircraft of similar size.

Carbon offsetting:

The Qantas Fly Carbon Neutral carbon offset program has one of the highest participation rates of any airline in the world.

Offsetting is an important tool towards reaching net zero targets, especially in the short to medium term until new low emission technology becomes available. Qantas is committed to growing its offsetting program and investing in Indigenous and Australian projects wherever possible.

Qantas recently launched its Green Tier, which has seen more than 90,000 frequent flyers take steps towards reducing their environmental footprint.

CEO comments:

“Aviation is a crucial industry, especially in a country the size of Australia. Having a clear plan to decarbonise Qantas and Jetstar so we can keep delivering these services in the decades ahead is absolutely key to our future,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said.

“We’ve had a zero net emissions goal for several years, so today’s interim targets are about accelerating our progress and cutting emissions as quickly as technology allows.

“Hydrogen or electric powered aircraft are several decades away, particularly for the length of most flights, so our plan is focused on the technology that is within reach today.

“We’re looking at new aircraft that burn approximately 15 to 20 per cent less fuel and we’re already using sustainable aviation fuel for our London flights that can cut emissions by up to 80 per cent.

“One benefit of setting these targets now is sending a clear signal that we’re in the market for large volumes of sustainable aviation fuel, for carbon offset projects and for products that can be recycled. That will hopefully encourage more investment and build more momentum for the industry as a whole.

“Responding to climate change is a big challenge, but we will get there. Partnerships with industry and all levels of government are going to be key to create the supply chains we need, and customers will have a role to play as well in supporting more sustainable options,” added Mr Joyce.

British Airways takes first delivery of SAF from Phillips 66 Limited

British Airways received (28-Mar-2022) its first delivery of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced by Phillips 66 Limited, making it the first airline in the world to begin using SAF produced on a commercial scale in the UK.
 
As previously reported by CAPA, the two companies reached a multi year SAF agreement in Dec-2021 which will provide the carrier with SAF from the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery in North Lincolnshire.
 
British Airways CEO Sean Doyle stated: "[This agreement] will allow us to progress with our ambitious roadmap to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner and will play a role in our commitment, as part of International Airlines Group, to power 10% of flights with SAF by 2030". [more - original PR]
 
Excerpt from original report: British Airways to Power a Number of Flights With Sustainable Aviation Fuel
  • British Airways becomes the first airline in the world to use sustainable aviation fuel produced on a commercial scale in the UK after signing a multi-year agreement with Phillips 66 Limited
  • SAF is produced from sustainable sources such as waste gases, crop and forestry residues, household and commercial waste and used cooking oil, and can reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by over 80% compared to traditional jet fuel
  • The delivery of the first batch of SAF from Phillips 66 Limited is another significant milestone for the airline as it delivers a range of initiatives to decarbonise and achieve net zero emissions by 2050
  • British Airways has also today published its 2021 Sustainability Report looking at the progress and milestones achieved last year and following the launch of its BA Better World programme. It has also published the first video in the airline’s newly launched sustainability docuseries, with this one explaining how sustainable aviation fuel is produced and how it delivers emissions benefits

British Airways has taken delivery of the first batch of sustainable aviation fuel produced by Phillips 66 Limited, making it the first airline in the world to start using SAF produced on a commercial scale in the UK.

The Phillips 66 Humber Refinery near Immingham is producing thousands of tonnes of SAF that will now help power a number of British Airways flights. The SAF is produced from sustainable waste feedstock at the refinery and British Airways will add it into the existing pipeline infrastructure that directly feeds several UK airports including London Heathrow.

British Airways and Phillips 66 are both committed to a lower carbon future. The sustainable aviation fuel bought by the airline will be enough to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by almost 100,000 tonnes, enough to power 700 net zero CO2 emissions flights between London and New York on its fuel-efficient Boeing 787 aircraft.  

Both companies support Government plans for a future SAF mandate and a business model for investing in advanced waste to jet fuel projects through participation in the Department for Transport’s Jet Zero Council Delivery Group. British Airways also continues to work with Government on ways to provide certainty for investors to help the UK be a leader in SAF production.

International Airlines Group (IAG), the airline’s parent company, is investing $400 million over the next 20 years into the development of SAF and British Airways has existing partnerships with several companies to develop plants and purchase the sustainable fuel.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “Being the first airline to source sustainable aviation fuel produced at commercial scale in the UK is another breakthrough moment for us and the airline industry.

“Our supplies of SAF from Phillips 66 Limited will allow us to progress with our ambitious roadmap to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner and will play a role in our commitment, as part of International Airlines Group (IAG), to power 10% of flights with SAF by 2030.

“Progressing the development and commercial scale up of sustainable aviation fuel will be a game changer and crucial to reducing the aviation sector’s reliance on fossil fuels and improving the UK’s energy supply resilience. I’m confident that Britain can take a leading role on the global stage in this space, creating green jobs and export opportunities, if industry, developers and Government continue to collaborate and make it a key focus area.”

Darren Cunningham, Lead Executive UK and General Manager Humber Refinery, said: “Phillips 66 Humber Refinery is proud to supply British Airways with sustainable aviation fuel.  We were the first in the UK to co-process waste oils to produce renewable fuels and now we will be the first to produce SAF at scale. We’re currently refining almost half a million litres of sustainable waste feedstocks a day, and this is just a start.

“The strategic collaboration and supply agreement confirm each companies’ commitment to a lower carbon future.  The production of SAF is just one of a number of decarbonisation projects we are currently progressing, and we are excited by the role that we play in supplying the UK with the fuels it needs, both now and in the future.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It's great to see British Airways is the first airline in the world that started using sustainable aviation fuel produced at scale in the UK - an important milestone towards our ambitious Jet Zero targets.

“The fact it’s being produced here in the UK is a perfect demonstration how Britain continues to be a pioneer in developing green aviation technology and the Government will meet its 2050 net zero target.

“We can create thousands of green jobs while reducing the impact that flying has on the environment, so we can continue to connect and travel in a greener way.”

Customers can now also join British Airways on its journey to reach net zero by 2050 through its onboard Speedbird Café menu app. A new category can be found on the BA Better World tab labelled ‘Contribute to Carbon Offsets’, where customers on short-haul European flights can help fund carbon reduction projects around the world. The £2.50 contribution represents the carbon compensation of an average British Airways European return flight per customer, and the funds are invested in verified CO2 emissions reduction and avoidance projects.

Pratt & Whitney and Air bp sign MoU on sustainable aviation fuel

Pratt & Whitney announced (29-Mar-2022) a MoU with Air bp regarding the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blends of up to 100% for engine testing and research through to 2024.

The agreement will enable Pratt & Whitney to conduct the evaluation, testing and validation needed to ensure that its engines are capable of operating with 100% SAF.

The companies also aim to collaborate on researching the performance of 100% SAF in propulsion systems to provide insights and data into fuel performance and emissions reductions.

Pratt & Whitney chief sustainability officer Graham Webb stated: "The commercial aviation industry must use multiple approaches when it comes to addressing the challenges of sustainable aviation" adding "One immediate opportunity is to radically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while we continue to improve engine efficiency". [more - original PR]

Original report: Pratt & Whitney and Air bp Sign MOU on Sustainable Aviation Fuel Testing and Research

Pratt & Whitney today announced a memorandum of understanding with Air bp regarding various workstreams with respect to the application of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blends at up to 100 percent in Pratt & Whitney engine testing and research. The agreement reflects Pratt & Whitney’s commitment to supporting the aviation industry’s ambitious goal of reaching net zero CO2 emissions for air travel by 2050.

“The commercial aviation industry must use multiple approaches when it comes to addressing the challenges of sustainable aviation. One immediate opportunity is to radically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while we continue to improve engine efficiency,” said Graham Webb, Chief Sustainability Officer at Pratt & Whitney. “Neat SAF from a major integrated energy company that is highly focused on SAF initiatives enables the evaluation, testing and validation needed to ensure that our engines are fully capable of operating with 100 percent SAF.”

As part of the agreement, the parties will work collaboratively to explore the viable supply to Pratt & Whitney of SAF blends with up to 100 percent SAF for engine and propulsion systems testing through 2024. In addition, the two companies aim to collaborate on researching the performance of 100 percent SAF in propulsion systems to provide insights and data into fuel performance and emissions reductions.

Andreea Moyes, Sustainability Director, Air bp said: “We are delighted to work with Pratt & Whitney to test SAF in U.S. engine testing facilities. As we continue to develop new technologies and feedstocks, some of which may be unique to U.S. availability, it will be very useful for both companies to collaborate on testing and understanding fuel performance and, on working on increasing SAF utilization in engines up to 100%.”

Combined with continuous technological advancements in aircraft and engine efficiency, SAFs have a critical role to play towards decarbonizing air travel by reducing dependence on fossil-based fuels. Pratt & Whitney has been actively involved in SAF testing and certification for over a decade, and helped regulatory authorities establish the standards which today allow SAF to be used as “drop in” fuel, blended up to 50 percent with conventional kerosene fuel. Pratt & Whitney is working towards validating that its engines can operate with 100 percent SAF, and the company continues to collaborate closely with the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and ASTM International towards that goal.

Pratt & Whitney is committed to ensuring that future generations of engines are ready to operate with 100 percent SAF, including the GTF AdvantageTM engine. Since entering service in 2016, the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine family has saved operators more than 600 million gallons (two billion liters) of fuel and avoided more than six million metric tonnes of CO2. Besides enabling greater use of SAF, Pratt & Whitney is developing a range of technologies to drive further reductions in CO2 emissions from future aircraft designs, including more advanced gas turbine technologies, hybrid-electric systems, and hydrogen fuel technologies.

Bordeaux Airport signs biodiversity protection agreement

Bordeaux Airport and the New Aquitaine Conservatory of Natural Spaces signed (29-Mar-2022) a three year agreement aimed at understanding, protecting, managing and promoting the biodiversity present in over 300 hectares of land onsite.

A management plan will be created in 2022, with implementation to commence from 2023. The plan will include measures for better consideration of biodiversity in future development projects. [more - original PR - French]

Original report: Signature du partenariat pour la biodiversité et la protection des espèces

Signature du partenariat pour la biodiversité et la protection des espèces

Aujourd’hui, la SA Aéroport de Bordeaux-Mérignac et le Conservatoire d’espaces naturels de Nouvelle-Aquitaine ont signé une convention pour 3 ans visant à connaitre, protéger, gérer et valoriser la biodiversité remarquable de la plateforme aéroportuaire bordelaise.

Le Conservatoire d’Espaces Naturels de la Nouvelle-Aquitaine contribue à préserver les espaces naturels et les paysages remarquables de notre région depuis 1992. Cette association, chargée par le Code de l’Environnement d’une mission d’intérêt public, est composée de représentants de la société civile, d’organismes liés à la protection de l’environnement, des collectivités territoriales…Orientée par un conseil scientifique, elle assure une gestion adaptée des milieux naturels qui lui sont confiés. Le Conservatoire porte ainsi les enjeux environnementaux au cœur du tissu économique rural et assure la transmission de ce patrimoine naturel aux générations futures.

Concessionnaire d’un terrain de plus de 300 hectares d’espaces naturels, la SA Aéroport de Bordeaux-Mérignac développe le patrimoine public qui lui a été confié, qu’il s’agisse d’infrastructures aéroportuaires comme d’espaces naturels. Ce territoire offre une biodiversité remarquable et préservée des interventions humaines, un écrin vert au coeur de la métropole aquitaine dont l’inventaire complet a été réalisé en 2020. Ce réservoir de faune et de flore s’inscrit dans le paysage de l’Opération d’Intérêt Métropolitain Bordeaux Aéroparc. Le partenariat avec le CEN-Nouvelle-Aquitaine s’intègre dans une démarche volontaire de la stratégie de l’aéroport en faveur de la protection de l’environnement.

Le CEN-NA et la société aéroportuaire s’associent autour de 4 axes de travail :

  • Améliorer les connaissances de la biodiversité de la plate-forme, 
  •  Connaître et améliorer la logique de connectivité écologique dans les secteurs porteurs d’enjeux, 
  •  Garantir la conservation des sites remarquables de l’aéroport, 
  •  Sensibiliser l’ensemble des acteurs de la plateforme ainsi que le grand public sur les enjeux en matière de biodiversité présents au sein de son emprise

Le diagnostic initial donnera lieu en 2022 à un plan de gestion de ce patrimoine naturel dont les premières actions seront mises en œuvre dès 2023. Ces éléments permettront également une meilleure prise en compte de la biodiversité dans les projets futurs d’aménagement. 

« Les Conservatoires d’espaces naturels sont engagés dans une démarche de préservation des espaces naturels en partenariat avec l’ensemble des acteurs de la société. Dans le cadre de l’Aéroport de Bordeaux, il nous est important de participer à la protection de cet espace, qui s’inscrit dans le vaste ensemble des landes de Gascogne. Le contact à l’agglomération de Bordeaux et ses 800.000 habitants, nous incite à nous investir », déclare Philippe Sauvage, Président du Conservatoire d’espaces naturels de Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

 « La préservation de notre territoire est une priorité absolue. Choisir le Conservatoire d’espaces naturels de la Nouvelle-Aquitaine est un engagement fort avec un partenaire qui connait les enjeux environnementaux de notre région. L’implication des équipes de l’aéroport sera aussi un élément clé dans la conception et l’intégration sur le territoire de nos futurs projets. » assure Simon Dreschel, Président du directoire de la SA Aéroport de Bordeaux-Mérignac.

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