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Qantas and Airbus to kickstart sustainable biofuel industry in Australia

The Qantas Group and Airbus have announced plans to invest up to US$200 million (AUD$288 million) to accelerate establishing a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia.

The Qantas Group and Airbus have announced plans to invest up to US$200 million (AUD$288 million) to accelerate establishing a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia.

The Australian Sustainable Aviation Biofuel Partnership was signed by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury in Doha.

Sustainable aviation fuel reportedly cuts greenhouse gas emissions by around 80 per cent compared to traditional kerosene. It is the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their environmental impact – particularly given they can be used in today’s engines with no modifications.

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

The Qantas Group, which has committed to using 10 per cent SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030, says it has to source SAF overseas.

This includes 15 per cent 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.

The partnership will reportedly invest in 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 have agreed to work on the sustainability initiative as part of the airline’s 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 Qantas Group’s Project Winton domestic fleet renewal.

The new fleet will significantly reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by up to 25 per cent from day one and are all already certified for operation using 50 per cent SAF.

The new A350
The Airbus new A350-1000

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 the research and development of SAF in Australia.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the investment would accelerate the development of SAF in Australia, creating value for shareholders of both companies while also creating jobs and reducing the nation’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

“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,” Mr Joyce said.

“It makes a lot of sense for us to put equity into an industry that we will be the biggest customer of. We’re 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,” he said.

For more, head to: www.qantasnewsroom.com.au