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  • Neste Corp.

IAG Cargo completes 1st SAF charter chain of 16 flights from Stuttgart to Atlanta

Sustainable aviation fuel, SAF, biobased diesel
Photo: IAG Cargo

IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group, completed its first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) charter chain of 16 flights from Stuttgart to Atlanta in late June. Working with its partner Kuehne+Nagel, IAG Cargo sourced 1.2 million liters (317,000 gallons) of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ from Neste Corp. This collaboration marks the first time ever that passenger-freighter charter flights are operated with net-zero carbon emissions*.

The last of the British Airways B787-900 flights left Stuttgart June 26, collecting on average 45 metric tons of automotive spares and other industrial goods destined for Atlanta via London Heathrow. The business has now completed more than 300 automotive charters since it began its charter service last year.

The SAF was provided by Neste, a leading global provider of sustainable aviation fuel. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel is made from sustainably sourced, renewable waste and residue raw materials. In its neat form and over the life cycle, its use can reduce up to 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel use**. The SAF was blended with fossil jet fuel to comply with aviation fuel certification standards, shipped to the U.K. from Europe and then transported by underground pipelines into Heathrow.

“International Airlines Group was the first European airline group to commit to powering 10 percent of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030,” said John Cheetham, chief commercial officer at IAG Cargo. “These charters mark IAG Cargo’s first step on that journey—I’m incredibly proud of our commitment to long-term sustainability, helping to reduce carbon footprint overall. We are constantly looking at ways which reduce our impact on the environment whilst improving our customer offering and we were delighted to support Kuehne+Nagel with sourcing Neste-produced SAF to power these landmark charters, the first of many.”

Answering growing customer demand for environmentally friendly logistics, Kuehne+Nagel is proactively expanding its sustainable services portfolio with innovative and easily customized shipping options. The overall commitment so far of 12.7 million liters of SAF allows Kuehne+Nagel customers to benefit from immediately available alternative fuel solutions to reduce CO2 emissions of their air freight globally.

“Climate change has now given new urgency to the search for cleaner, renewable fuels as they are currently the most effective measure to achieve true decarbonization in our industry,” said Yngve Ruud, a member of the management board of Kuehne+Nagel who is responsible for air logistics. “Kuehne+Nagel is committed to increase its supply of SAF as part of our ambitious Net Zero Carbon program. Our work with our suppliers is critical here, with trusted partners like IAG Cargo playing a vital role in the attainment of our goals and by fostering deployment of sustainable fuels so our like-minded customers can ship their products CO2 neutral in an easy and transparent way.”

Jonathan Wood, vice president of renewable aviation in Europe for Neste, said, “Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel provides immediate emission reductions and is already available today, playing a pivotal role in decarbonizing the aviation industry. We continue to scale up our operations and will have the capacity to produce some 1.5 million tons of SAF annually by the end of 2023.”

Neste aims to work with customers to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 million tons annually by 2030.

SAF is currently the most effective measure to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of shipping. In contrast to fossil fuels, which are exhaustible resources and release additional CO2 emissions, SAF is produced from renewable raw materials, such as biomass or waste and residues, enabling significantly reduced emissions.

*As SAF use still produces some CO2 emissions, carbon neutrality was achieved by substituting each liter of jet fuel kerosene used with 1.25 liters of SAF. The initiative highlights the importance of joint efforts for making sustainable transportation choices and possibilities available at close-by airports to local and global industry players avoiding further emissions through trucking goods into major hubs.

**Calculated with established life cycle assessment methodologies, including EU RED and CORSIA.

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