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Kenya Airways operates 1st flight from Africa using Eni-made SAF

Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways has become the first African airline to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) provided by Eni for a long-haul flight.

The Boeing 787-800 (B787-8) Dreamliner took off May 25 from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol.

For this flight, Jet A-1 fuel is mixed with Eni Biojet, produced at Eni’s Livorno refinery in Italy by distilling the biobased components produced at its Sicilian biorefinery in Gela, Italy.

“Working with Eni Sustainable Mobility to pilot the use of SAF puts us on the first pathway to testing the use of sustainable aviation fuel within Africa,” said Allan Kilavuka, CEO of Kenya Airways. “The data and insights generated from the pilot flight will be valuable to inform policy decisions, regulatory frameworks, and industry best practices related to SAF. This will be a significant milestone for Kenya Airways and the broader African aviation industry.”

Eni Biojet contains 100 percent biogenic feedstock and is suitable for use with up to 50 percent of Jet A-1 fuel.

For this flight, it was mixed with conventional jet fuel by Kenya Airways in Nairobi.

Kenya Airways is working together with Eni to use sustainable aviation fuel for its flights out of the country.

The SAF-fueled Nairobi-Amsterdam flight allows Kenya Airways to gain a competitive advantage in the continent, the airline stated.

“The supply of Eni Biojet to Nairobi Airport is an important step for Eni Sustainable Mobility because it confirms that the company can support airlines such as Kenya Airways in their path towards decarbonization,” said Stefano Ballista, CEO of Eni Sustainable Mobility.

From 2025, all aircraft departing from European airports will be required to incorporate a proportion of SAF.

As a result, Kenya Airways is positioning itself to take advantage of SAF momentum in accordance with the direction indicated by the European Union with the ReFuelEU Aviation regulation that sets the targets for mixing traditional fuels with increased amounts of more sustainable fuels.

Eni already markets an aviation fuel containing a 20 percent biogenic component.

The company has also signed agreements with national and international airlines as well as airports and logistics operators in order to supply it.

As of 2024, the Venice and Gela biorefineries will begin production of Eni Biojet from renewable raw materials, expected to exceed approximately 66 million gallons per year.

This target requires a significant supply of raw materials, for which Eni is also active in developing a supply chain in Kenya to collect used cooking oil by working with companies and operators in the food sector, contributing to managing food waste as part of a circular economy, as well as a network of agri-hubs in Kenya and other African countries to produce vegetable oils from marginal lands not in competition with the food chain.

Eni Sustainable Mobility and Kenya Airways are working on a broader agreement for long-term collaboration.

Kenya Airways will also be participating in the second edition of the Sustainable Flight Challenge, an initiative of SkyTeam.

The initiative is a friendly competition between SkyTeam member airlines.

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