British Airways flight BA1476 from London Heathrow to Glasgow Airport on 14 September was the airline’s first ever passenger flight to be powered directly by SAF. Supplied by Air bp, the SAF was blended at 35% with traditional jet fuel, which resulted in reducing lifecycle carbon emissions by around 80% compared to the fossil jet fuel it replaces.
Operated by an Airbus A320neo - the quietest and most fuel-efficient short-haul aircraft currently in British Airways’ fleet, the aircraft was pushed back using an electric Mototok vehicle, powered by 100% renewable electricity. Just one of the aircraft’s engines was used to taxi the runway, almost halving the power used to start its journey. Meanwhile, air traffic controllers at NATS directed the aircraft on its continuous climb from Heathrow and descent into Glasgow avoiding any levelling off, which causes an increase in fuel burn. The most direct routing was provided by NATS as well as the most optimal flight level and the aircraft was able to land without airborne holding; techniques that successfully saved fuel and reduced emissions. On landing, the second engine was switched off to halve the power used and carbon emitted as it taxied to stand.
Climb speeds were also programmed in advance while aircraft computer systems worked out the optimum altitude and used accurate weight and wind data to ensure the most efficient journey possible.
The flight achieved a 62% improvement (28% from the use of SAF) in emissions reductions compared to a decade ago – a similar flight to Edinburgh in 2010 served as a benchmark for comparison.
“We are honoured to join forces with British Airways on this important initiative. At bp we are focusing on working with hard-to-abate sectors, such as aviation, as part of our ambition to be net zero by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get there too. By working collaboratively with industries, we can help to accelerate decarbonisation and we believe SAF will be one of the key solutions to fulfil this for the aviation sector.” Martin Thomsen, SVP aviation, bp.
For more information on Air bp’s SAF please click here.