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  • Repsol

Repsol supplies SAF to Atlas Air, Inditex for regular use on cargo flights

Photo: Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings

Repsol announced Dec. 5 that it has begun supplying sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to Atlas Air for use in all its flights with its customer Inditex from Zaragoza Airport in Spain.

Since November, Atlas Air has begun initially incorporating 5 percent SAF in all its flights.

New York-based Atlas Air is thus the first cargo airline to use SAF regularly on its cargo flights in Spain, according to Repsol, which added that this marks a new milestone in the airline sector.

The initiative is in line with the commitment of the three companies to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve the goal of being net-zero emissions companies.

Furthermore, it puts them ahead of the anticipated compliance measures included in the ReFuelEU Aviation regulations that require use of 2 percent renewable fuels in 2025, 6 percent in 2030, and 70 percent in 2050.

“With this agreement, we take another step in the decarbonization of aviation,” said Óliver Fernández, Repsol’s director of international aviation. “We show that SAF is the future, but also the present. With the upcoming launch of our new advanced biofuels plant in Cartagena, Spain, we are ready to supply the sector with the SAF it needs to realize its decarbonization ambitions.”

Michael Steen, CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide, added, “We are committed to contributing to the sustainability of the aviation sector and appreciate this opportunity to work with our valued partners at Inditex and Repsol. It is critical for our sector to work together in driving wider adoption and availability of SAF, which ultimately will have a positive impact on our industry and the environment.”

The agreement also aims to enhance local SAF production, both in terms of refinery capacity and in the sourcing of nearby raw materials, with the goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from the aviation sector.

Aena, responsible for the management of the Zaragoza Airport, participates proactively in the promotion and integration of SAF production and consumption.

Repsol has been manufacturing biofuels in its industrial complexes for 25 years and already has more than 30 service stations in the Iberian Peninsula that supply 100 percent renewable fuels to its customers.

Renewable fuels are an alternative now available for all transport segments and represent the main solution for aviation, maritime transport and heavy road transport that do not currently have a viable alternative in electrification.

In the coming months, Repsol will start up its first plant dedicated exclusively to the production of advanced biofuels in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the first plants of its kind in Europe at its industrial complex in Cartagena.

Marking the next major milestone for the multienergy company, Repsol has invested more than 200 million euros (USD$215.5 million) in the construction of the plant.

It will have a production capacity of 250,000 tons of SAF and renewable diesel per year produced from various types of residue—mainly used cooking oil and waste from the agrifood industry—and will reduce 900,000 tons of CO2 per year.

In 2022, total SAF production worldwide was 240,000 tons, according to the International Air Transport Association.

In 2025, approximately 120,000 tons will be needed in Spain to cover the 2 percent obligation of RefuelEU Aviation.

Production of the new plant will be able to cover all the SAF demand in the Iberian Peninsula, complying with the obligation until the European mandate rises to 3 percent.

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