IAG, Microsoft Partner for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative

people walking through an airport

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Aug 16, 2023

people walking through an airport

(Credit: Pixabay)

International Airlines Group (IAG) and Microsoft are working together to drive large-scale adoption of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and reduce carbon emissions from business travel and air freight.

As part of the partnership, both companies intend to fund part of the cost supply, and IAG plans to purchase 14,700 tonnes of SAF in collaboration with Microsoft. 

Currently, Microsoft is on a trajectory to achieve carbon negativity by 2030, and by co-funding this initiative, the company is participating in the advocacy work of environmentally conscious air travel. Aligned with Microsoft’s environmental goals, IAG intends to use SAF for 10% of its fuel needs by 2030.

IAG and Microsoft’s SAF Collaboration

A significant portion of IAG’s SAF purchase will be supplied by Phillips 66 Limited’s Humber Refinery in the United Kingdom, which scales up SAF production from used cooking oil and food waste. The SAF produced will fuel the operations of IAG’s airlines, including British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Vueling, operating from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

According to Julia Fidler, environmental sustainability fuel and materials decarbonization director at Microsoft, this type of collaboration is crucial in the development and scalability of the SAF market as a whole as investing in SAF can help reduce emissions from both business travel and freight. 

SAF is typically made from a variety of sustainable resources known as feedstocks, which includes anything from forestry and agricultural waste, used cooking oil, carbon captured from the air, and green hydrogen. SAF is made by using renewable feedstocks, so it ends up recycling carbon rather than adding to the carbon in the atmosphere, ultimately reducing carbon emissions by nearly 70%. The partnership of IAG and Microsoft and the switch to SAF follows a number of other recent companies such as Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic that have looked into the adoption of SAF.

As part of the agreement, IAG and Microsoft’s adoption of SAF is anticipated to reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by at least 80% compared to the conventional jet fuel it replaces. 

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