British Airways’ 1st passenger flight using SAF takes place
British Airways flight 1476 from London Heathrow to Glasgow Airport became the airline’s first-ever passenger flight to be powered directly by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with the remaining emissions produced by the flight offset. The airline teamed up with Heathrow, air traffic service provider NATS, fuel giant BP, Glasgow Airport and Airbus to operate the short carbon-neutral flight, which took place Sept. 14.
The short journey on the airline’s new special liveried sustainability aircraft painted in partnership with Airbus replicated a flight British Airways operated to Edinburgh in 2010. At the time, neither offsetting nor sustainable aviation fuel were available to reduce the flight’s impact on the environment, and the journey was operated on an older aircraft carrying fewer passengers.
The aim of the Sept. 14 flight was to show how far the aviation industry has progressed in its efforts to decarbonize over the past decade.
The flight was operated by an Airbus A320neo, the quietest and most fuel-efficient short-haul aircraft currently in British Airways’ fleet. Thanks to advances in engines, aerodynamics, cabin and flight operations, A320neos burn 20 percent less fuel, which means 20 percent less CO2.
The flight was directly powered by sustainable aviation fuel, provided by BP, blended at 35 percent with traditional jet fuel in accordance with technical aviation specifications.
This year’s flight achieved a 62 percent CO2 emissions reduction compared with the flight in 2010—34 percent from more efficient aircraft and operations, 28 percent from the use of sustainable aviation fuel with the remaining 38 percent offset using high quality, verified carbon offsets.