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Mon, 20 June 2022

Qantas and Airbus to Accelerate Establishment of SAF Industry in Australia

(20 June 2022, 10:33 +07)  Qantas and Airbus have signed an agreement to invest up to US$200 million in accelerating the establishment of a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia.

The Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership was signed on Sunday, ahead of the IATA AGM in Doha, by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.

Due to the lack of a local commercial-scale SAF industry, Australia is currently exporting millions of tonnes of feedstock every year, such as canola and animal tallow to be made into SAF in other countries.

The Qantas Group, which has committed to using 10 per cent SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030, is sourcing SAF overseas, including 15 percent of its fuel use out of London currently and 20 million litres each year for flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Australia from 2025.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce (left) with Airbus CEO, Guillaume Faury. Click to enlarge.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce (left) with Airbus CEO, Guillaume Faury

Sustainable fuels cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 80 per cent compared to traditional kerosene and are the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their impact on the environment particularly given they can be used in todays engines with no modifications.

Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO, said, Ensuring a sustainable future for our industry has become the priority for Airbus and we are taking up this challenge with partners across the world and from across all sectors. The increased use of sustainable aviation fuels will be a key driver to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. But we cant do this without viable industrial systems to produce and commercialise these energy sources at affordable rates and near to key hubs around the world. This is especially true for a country like Australia, which is geographically distant and highly reliant on aviation to remain connected both domestically and internationally. The agreement we have signed with Qantas reflects the new level of partnership between our two companies and our firmly shared commitment to act as catalysts of change to ensure a bright future for our industry.

The Qantas and Airbus partnership will provide funding for locally developed and produced SAF and feedstock initiatives. Projects will have to be commercially viable and meet a strict set of criteria around environmental sustainability.

Airbus and Qantas agreed to work together on the sustainability initiative part of the airlines recently announced orders. These include the A350-1000 to operate Project Sunrise non-stop flights from Australia to New York and London and the selection of the A220 and A321XLR under the carriers Project Winton domestic fleet renewal, as well as lower emission aircraft for its subsidiary Jetstar.

The new fleet will offer a significant reduction in fuel consumption and carbon emissions of up to 25% from day one and are all already certified for operation using 50% SAF.

The partnership is initially for five years with options to extend the duration. Qantas financial contribution to the Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership includes AU$50 million previously committed to research and development of SAF in Australia.

Pratt and Whitney, whose GTF engines were recently selected by Qantas for their new A220 and A320neo family aircraft, is also contributing to the venture.

Qantas has started a process of talking to its major corporate customers about their interest in accessing SAF offsets for their organisations flying. This input is shaping the design of a programme that could also be extended to individuals in an expansion of the existing offsetting programme Qantas already has in place. The new program is expected to launch later this calendar year.

The use of SAF is increasing globally as governments and industry work together to find ways to decarbonise the aviation sector. Without swift action, Australia is at risk of being left behind, said Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce. With this investment, Qantas and Airbus are putting our money where our mouth is and betting on the innovation and ingenuity of Australian industry. Aviation is an irreplaceable industry, especially for a country the size of Australia, and one thats located so far away from so much of the world. Future generations are relying on us to get this right so they too can benefit from air travel. This investment will help kickstart a local biofuels industry in Australia and hopefully encourage additional investment from governments and other businesses and build more momentum for the industry as a whole. It makes a lot of sense for us to put equity into an industry that we will be the biggest customer of. Were calling on other companies and producers to come forward with their biofuel projects. In many cases, this funding will be the difference between some of these projects getting off the ground. The aviation industry also needs the right policy settings in place to ensure the cost of SAF comes down over time so that the cost of air travel doesnt rise. Weve had some encouraging discussions with the incoming Australian Government given their strong focus on emissions reduction and look forward to that progressing.

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