London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has embarked on the second year of its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) incentive scheme, which aims to achieve 11% SAF usage by 2030.

In 2022, Heathrow became the first airport globally to launch a SAF incentive programme that covers up to 50% of the extra cost of SAF to make it more affordable for airlines.

Heathrow now aims to triple the percentage of SAF used at the airport in 2023 to approximately 1.5%, which would make it one of the world’s largest users of SAF.

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

Heathrow SAF
Heathrow is committed to progressively increasing the amount of SAF used each year

Compared to traditional jet fuel, SAF reduces carbon emissions by up to 70%. It can be made from sources such as waste, animal fat and cooking oil, and can be used in existing aircraft.

Heathrow expects its SAF incentive to save over 81,000 tonnes of CO2 throughout 2023. However, it also recognises that the sector should do more to accelerate the reduction of these emissions.

The airport is therefore calling on the government to advance the production of SAF, as high costs and low production volumes currently prevent its widespread availability at commercially viable rates.

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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