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Green Tiers: Qantas expands use of 80% less emission sustainable aviation fuel

Qantas will expand its use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by tapping into supplies in California to help reduce carbon emissions on its flights from LA and San Francisco to Australia.

Qantas will expand its use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by tapping into supplies in California to help reduce carbon emissions on its flights from LA and San Francisco to Australia.

SAF produces up to 80 per cent fewer emissions than traditional jet kerosene and is compatible with existing aircraft.

The SAF will be blended with traditional jet fuel at a 40/60 ratio to align with international standards though interestingly, is still currently more expensive than traditional fossil fuels.

US biofuels company Aemetis will supply almost 20 million litres of blended SAF each year for Qantas flights, starting in 2025.

The sustainable fuel will be produced at Aemetis’ plant currently under development in Riverbank, California. It will come from certified feedstock from waste products that are then blended with normal jet fuel.

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO

This is Qantas’ second major offshore purchase of SAF with flights from London using a blend of sustainable fuel since the start of this year.

Qantas is pursuing a number of additional deals to add more SAF in the US and other international airports. The national carrier is aiming to be net carbon neutral by 2050 and will outline an interim target later this month.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who met with Aemetis executives in Los Angeles today, said sustainable fuels were critical to aviation’s transition to a low emissions future.

“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,” Mr Joyce said.

“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.

Airlines around the world are increasing their use of SAF, with demand outstripping supply in most jurisdictions.

“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 new Green Tiers

“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,” added Mr Joyce.

Qantas also recently announced a new Green tier for its Frequent Flyers which will sit alongside existing flying tiers – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One – to encourage and reward its 13 million frequent flyers for everything from offsetting their flights, to staying in eco-accredited hotels, purchasing sustainable wine and supporting environmental initiatives.

Members who achieve Green tier status by completing at least five sustainable activities across six areas in their membership year can choose to receive either 10,000 Qantas Points, 50 Status Credits or have three tonnes of carbon offsets purchased by Qantas on their behalf, as well as a range of other exclusive benefits.

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