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Heathrow demonstrates commitment to reducing its carbon footprint


London’s Heathrow Airport has reminded the world about its ongoing ‘green revolution’ as it embarks on the second year of its Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) incentive scheme.

In 2022, Heathrow launched a world first – an airport SAF incentive programme which aimed to cover up to 50% of the extra cost, making the fuel more affordable for airlines to use.

And today the UK hub notes that with last year’s scheme oversubscribed, it is now aiming to triple the percentage used in 2023 to approximately 1.5%, putting the airport on course to be one the world’s largest users of SAF this year.

Participants of the scheme include IAG, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, Air France, KLM and JetBlue.

SAF is a proven technology that reduces carbon emissions by up to 70% compared with traditional jet fuel. It can be made from a variety of sources, including waste, animal fat and cooking oil.

SAF, explains Heathrow, can work in existing aircraft without the need for technical modifications, and with advancements in aircraft technology like electric or hydrogen-powered flight still some way from commercial implementation, SAF is the key to unlocking material reductions in carbon today.

As a global SAF leader, Heathrow is committed to progressively increasing the SAF used each year, with the airport targeting 11% SAF usage by 2030.

This year alone, it notes, the SAF incentive is expected to save over 81,000 tonnes of CO2, and with a proven track record of success, the airport believes that its incentive scheme can serve as blueprint for other gateways to follow suit and introduce SAF into their own operations.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Sustainable aviation fuel is not just about protecting the benefits of aviation in a net zero world – it’s about economic opportunity, creating jobs here in the UK and securing the country’s future energy supplies.

“Heathrow has led the way on decarbonising aviation by incentivising airlines to use SAF, and Team Heathrow is now probably the biggest user of SAF in the world. But it is currently all imported.

“If Britain really wants to compete with the scale of ambition and the credible action seen from the US and Europe, supportive government policy is needed and it is needed now.”

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