BA Boosts Biofuels With New Deal For COP26

A collaboration to ensure all domestic flights to and from the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow in November are powered by sustainable biofuel is one of the ledges made by British Airways (BA) as part of its new BA Better World environmental programme.

The deal with BP will cover flights between London, Edinburgh and Glasgow during the conference, reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent compared with the sole use of traditional aviation fuel. The technique is achieved by blending the two fuels together.

BA has described the initiative as its “most important journey yet” and has partnered with Airbus to paint one of its fuel-efficient A320neos in the new sustainability programme’s colours.

A key feature of the new programme is a new carbon offset option. Instead of just planting trees or funding some low-carbon initiative elsewhere, passengers can purchase sustainable aviation fuel to cut their carbon footprints.

The airline noted that it had always been at the forefront of carbon reduction initiatives, being the first to report its carbon footprint in 1992 and the first to use emissions trading in 2002. It is now planning to become a zero carbon airline by 2050 and since last year has offered voluntary offsetting of all emissions on domestic flights.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, British Airways chairman and chief executive Sean Doyle said the firm has a “responsibility” to improve its environmental record and produce a “detailed plan” to meet its 2050 net zero target.

This can be done by “investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft, improving our operational efficiency and investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and zero emissions aircraft,” he added.

Mr Doyle acknowledged that; “It is only through working in partnership with government and industry that we’ll be able to reach our targets,” and thanked BP for the collaboration that made possible the use of sustainable fuel for the COP 2 flights.

He confirmed the BP deal was “in addition to the mandatory carbon trading we already operate in the UK and our own further voluntary carbon offsetting of our UK domestic flights.”

Chief executive of BP’s aviation division Martin Thomsen said it was a major aim of the firm to decarbonise the aviation sector, adding: “We will continue to collaborate with industry stakeholders and governments to explore viable options to help scale up sustainable aviation fuel more broadly.”

It is not just BA that is giving biofuels a boost. In the US, United Airlines and conglomerate firm Honeywell have joined forces to invest millions of dollars in Alder Fuels, a cleantech company that is seeking to develop aviation fuel from biomass such as waste crop and wood.

The plan is to combine Honeywell’s ‘Ecofining’ process with Alder’s technologies to achieve the holy grail of a new kind of biofuel that can act as a 100 per cent replacement for traditional aviation fuel.

The agreement includes a commitment by United to buy 1.5 million gallons of the fuel once it has met the required standard.

Like BA, United is committed to becoming a net zero carbon airline by 2050.

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