Members of the oneworld® Alliance intend to purchase more than 350 million gallons of blended sustainable aviation fuel from renewable fuels company Aemetis for their operations at San Francisco International Airport, further signifying the alliance’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
Once finalised, the agreements will cover the delivery of sustainable aviation fuel over a seven-year term beginning in 2024. oneworld members including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Qatar Airways will look to utilise the sustainable aviation fuel for their operations at San Francisco Airport, with the potential for additional oneworld members to participate in the coming months.
The blended sustainable aviation fuel is 40% sustainable aviation fuel and 60% petroleum jet fuel to meet international blended sustainable aviation fuel standards.
Today’s announcement follows a joint request for proposals by oneworld member airlines to fuel suppliers – marking the first such effort announced by a global airline alliance to purchase sustainable aviation fuel and furthering the alliance’s commitment to the decarbonisation of aviation. It builds upon the alliance’s target of 10% sustainable aviation fuel use across the alliance by 2030 and underlines the alliance’s commitment to collectively source sustainable aviation fuel.
oneworld was the first global airline alliance to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 – with sustainable aviation fuel a crucial pillar in oneworld’s pathway to carbon neutrality.
The sustainable aviation fuel will be produced at the Aemetis Carbon Zero plant currently under development in Riverbank, California. The facility will use waste wood to produce cellulosic hydrogen, which is then combined with wastes and non-edible sustainable oils and zero carbon intensity hydroelectric electricity to produce sustainable aviation fuel.
Sustainable aviation fuel has a significant environmental advantage over traditional jet fuel, with an up to 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis. It is a vital solution in the decarbonisation of aviation in the near and medium-term, particularly for longer-haul flights. While the technology exists today, sustainable aviation fuel is not yet available at scale. Offtake agreements like oneworld’s commitment – as well as targeted investments, regulations and government support mechanisms – will help enable the industry’s transition towards sustainable aviation fuel.
The announcement today is among the many partnerships in environmental sustainability at oneworld, overseen by the oneworld Environment and Sustainability Board chaired by IAG Head of Sustainability Jonathon Counsell and with representation from all 14 member airlines.
oneworld Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker said: “Our alliance is standing together with the industry in supporting the transition to net-zero. As sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will play an important role in meeting aviation’s decarbonisation targets, we are proud to establish another milestone and drive the SAF use at commercial scale. We encourage all stakeholders to support our industry efforts to ensure the affordability and availability of SAF that meets the sustainability criteria as recognised by ICAO”.
oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said: “This announcement for the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel continues to demonstrate what we can achieve together as an alliance and underlines the importance of collaboration in the important work to advance environmental sustainability. This latest milestone signals our commitment in driving forward momentum for the development of sustainable aviation fuel, which is crucial in reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector”.
“The Aemetis Carbon Zero plant under development in the Central Valley of California is designed to utilise zero carbon intensity electricity, negative carbon intensity hydrogen from waste wood, and renewable oils along with CO2 sequestration to produce low carbon intensity sustainable aviation fuel,” said Eric McAfee, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “The plant is designed to reduce air pollution in local disadvantaged communities by reducing orchard wood burning in fields, while creating more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in a lower income agricultural area”.