March 15, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Qantas will use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on flights from the two west coast US cities from 2025, after signing a deal to purchase 20 million litres of SAF per year.

Sustainable aviation fuel generates up to 80 percent fewer carbon emissions than standard fuel options and this latest move is part of the Australian airline’s work towards its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Qantas has already started using SAF on flights from London to Australia earlier this year.

“Climate change is front of mind for Qantas, our customers, employees and investors, and it is a key focus for us as we move through our recovery from the pandemic,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“Operating our aircraft with sustainable aviation fuel is the single biggest thing we can do to directly reduce our emissions.

“We’re actively looking to source sustainable aviation fuel for our operations, and the deal we’re announcing today is hopefully one of many we’ll make as the market catches up to demand globally.”

In the media release announcing the latest SAF deal, Joyce also continued the aviation giant’s push for an SAF industry in Australia, to which Qantas has already pledged millions in funding.

“At the moment we can only buy sustainable fuels offshore. The US, UK and Europe have industries that have developed with a lot of government support because this is a new field and the long term benefits for those countries are obvious.

“Qantas has already committed $50 million to support the development of a SAF industry in Australia, and we’d be its biggest customer. As well as the environmental and economic benefits, a local SAF industry would reduce the nation’s dependence on imported fuels.

“For now, SAF is more expensive than traditional fossil fuels but with the right investment it could grow to a scale where the cost is on par.”

A reduction in the carbon emissions of air travel is good news for the international conference and incentive market in Australia. With more businesses and organisations becoming climate aware, there is growing consideration of the impact of air travel. If airlines can bring their impact closer to zero, there will be fewer barriers and moral conundrums to travelling for events.