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First flight powered by sustainable aviation fuel departs from Gatwick


The first ever departing flight from London Gatwick powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) took off from UK gateway today.

It will be the first of 42 flights from Gatwick – the bulk of which will be operated by easyJet – powered by a 30% Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel blend.

This important milestone marks the first time a departing flight at Gatwick has used sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and is also the first usage by any easyJet service from the UK.

According to the airport, it confirms the strong commitment of all parties involved – international aviation fuel supplier Q8Aviation, easyJet, Gatwick Airport Ltd and Neste – to achieve a net carbon emission reduction in the fuel used in aviation and work towards an ultimate goal for aviation to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Of the 42 flights running Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel blend, 39 of these will be the easyJet flights operating from Gatwick to Glasgow throughout the COP26 Climate Change Conference, which runs from October 31 to November 12.

Across all 42 flights CO2 emissions will have been reduced by up to 70 tonnes which further signals the industry’s intentions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a course to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Q8Aviation has delivered the first supply of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to the fuel supply at Gatwick Airport. Neste’s market-leading sustainable aviation fuel, which is fully certified, is produced from 100% renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste.

In its neat form and over its life cycle, Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel can achieve a reduction of up to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel use. 

The process starts with Neste-produced SAF which is blended with Jet A-1 fuel at a depot upstream of Gatwick Airport to create a drop-in fuel that is compatible with existing aircraft engines and the airport infrastructure, without requiring extra investment.

Q8Aviation then deliver the fuel to the main storage tanks at Gatwick Airport for supply to easyJet aircraft via the airport’s hydrant system.

The airport believes that the incorporation of SAF into Gatwick’s operations for today’s flight is an important proof of concept for the airport in demonstrating its continued commitment to work with its aviation partners on decarbonisation.

Gatwick’s director of corporate affairs, planning and sustainability, Tim Norwood, said: “We are pleased to work with our partners to be the first airport in the VINCI Airport network to introduce SAF on a commercial flight and prove the concept that Gatwick is ready and able to operationally utilise SAF.

“SAF is one of several ways that UK aviation and Gatwick will reach net zero carbon by 2050, alongside carbon offsets, airspace modernisation and continued innovation in aerospace technology, including electric, hydrogen and hybrid aircraft systems.

“With smart Government policy to underpin investment in cost competitive UK SAF production, many more flights could be using UK produced SAF by the mid-2020s.”

Gatwick’s own 2019 carbon footprint showed that the airport is already half-way to net zero for its own operations and is committed to achieving Net Zero direct emissions by 2040.

In a further move to decarbonise operations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, from today, easyJet, in partnership with World Fuel Services, has introduced an electric hydrant dispenser at the airport which will serve its fleet of 71 aircraft at Gatwick.

It is the first in the UK and based on diesel equivalents which are estimated to burn 6,630 litres of diesel every year, the new electric hydrant dispenser can reduce 18,000kgs of CO2 emissions annually.

The electric hydrant dispenser adds to the electric ground services equipment already supporting easyJet aircraft operations at Gatwick Airport.


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