QANTAS has been very vocal over the last year about Australia getting serious about developing Sustainable Air Fuels (SAF), and last month the carrier decided to put its money where its mouth is.
The airline formed a major SAF investment partnership with Airbus, collectively sinking US$200 million (A$287 million) into a fund to stimulate local SAF production, a move the Flying Kangaroo believes will deliver benefits to all Australian sectors as the world faces rocketing prices for fossil fuels.
Qantas wants to kickstart the local SAF industry through its latest funding initiative, negating the need to purchase the greener fuels overseas, something the airline has been forced to do in the past despite making it clear it would preference homegrown SAFs.
Sustainable fuels cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 80% when compared to traditional kerosene and is the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their impact on the environment, Qantas stated, acknowledging that SAF will be crucial in its bid to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“It makes a lot of sense for us to put equity into an industry that we will be the biggest customer of,” CEO Alan Joyce said.
“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 added.
The partnership is initially for five years with options to extend the duration, and will invest in locally developed and produced SAF and feedstock initiatives, with projects needing to be commercially viable and meet a strict set of criteria around environmental sustainability.
Joyce was also adamant that his airline’s investment alone will not be enough to ignite the SAF revolution needed in Australia, calling on government and private businesses to step up to the plate and invest in the green fuels sector.
“The aviation industry needs the right policy settings in place to ensure the price of SAF comes down over time so that the cost of air travel doesn’t rise,’ he said.
“We’ve had some encouraging discussions with the incoming Australian Government given their strong focus on emissions reduction and look forward to that progressing.”
Qantas Group has previously pledged to use 10% SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030.