From 1 flight in 2008, to 100,000 flights in 2017, to 1 million flights in 2020, the aviation industry is pushing hard to use sustainable fuels to cut emissions.
On 24th February 2008, a Virgin Atlantic B747 made history by becoming the first airplane flown by a commercial airline to fly on a blend of jetfuel and sustainable aviation fuel (also known as “biofuel”). This flight showed the world it was technically possible to fly on a blend of alternative fuels, and swiftly many thousands of demonstration and test flights followed, ensuring that other fuel sources could also be used. In 2011 commercial flights began, and now we need governments to help incentivize more production to ensure we can meet our ambitious carbon reduction target of a cut of 50% in CO2 by 2050 compared to 2005.
IATA’s biofuels expert and senior environment manager Robert Boyd picks up the story in the video below:
Find out more:
- Read more about IATA's initiatives related to Sustainable Aviation Fuels
- Download our infographic on 10 years of flying on Sustainable Aviation Fuels
- SAF stats at a glance (pdf)
- Alternative Fuels fact sheet (pdf)
- Resolution on Commerical SAF deployment - AGM 2017 (pdf)
- Virgin Atlantic were the first airline to fly a plane on a sustainable fuel, in February 2008. See a photo of Richard Branson holding a sample of the fuel, and also Virgin’s press release marking the anniversary, and pushing for government support for more SAF production.
- The first airline to fly a commercial Sustainable Aviation Fuel flight with paying passengers was KLM in 2011. Since then, KLM has invested in some innovative SAF projects which can be read about on their BioFuel programme page.
- Boeing has been doing some innovative work on SAF. See videos on their work in Abu Dhabi, and on Green Diesel: Masdar SBRC Project (video) Green Diesel First Flight (video)
- Find out more about Airbus' work with Cathay Pacific and Total on sustainable aviation fuels.
- Avinor, operator of airports in Norway, has been leading the push to supply SAF permanently to Oslo and Bergen airports. Watch Olav Mosvold Larson explains more about this project now