Malaysia Airlines: local SAF production key to viability

Sustainable Aviation Fuel is firmly on the agenda for Malaysia Airlines - but the economics are challenging.

Malaysia Airlines Chief Marketing & Customer Experience Officer Yin May Lau has joined the procession of airline executives calling for more governmental and private sector support for the sector’s burgeoning sustainable aviation fuel programs.

Lau spoke glowingly to travelBulletin about Malaysia Airlines Group’s promising SAF initiative but admitted the program would be tough to roll out if it is does not become more economical.

“We have already done three (SAF flights), and we are planning another one by the end of this year, and we will progressively roll out more in next year onwards,” Lau enthused.

“SAF is clearly one of the important things as part of our blueprint, but admittedly, it requires a lot of stakeholders, and all those who are involved in the entire supply chain and logistics, to be able to make SAF.

“SAF does cost at least four to five times of the current prices, and until we are able to bring down that supply chain cost and that logistic costs itself, it will be tough to really fully implement SAF, or even increase the SAF into our flights.”

Malaysia has mostly been working with European firms to build out its SAF program, given there is no large-scale production of the fuel within the country itself.

This arrangement, Lau lamented, is currently not making logical sense from an ROI standpoint.

However, MH has been working with local oil & gas company Petronas to investigate the potential of building an SAF production farm within Malaysia.

“If it’s not in the country itself, it should be within the region,” Lau added.

“We also have partners coming up to us saying that they want to build something in Singapore, so that’s being considered, but essentially, we do want to be part of this SAF development within this region.”

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