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Virgin and BA call for ‘radical collaboration’ on sustainable aviation

British Airways Boeing 777-200 G-VIIB (Image: UK Aviation Media)

British Airways Boeing 777-200 G-VIIB (Image: UK Aviation Media)

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have together called for “radical collaboration” between Government, aviation fuel providers and the wider aviation industry to help the industry reach its net-zero target of 2050.

The call came at the recent Sustainable Skies Summit 2024, held at Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre, during a panel containing Julie Kitcher, Chief Sustainability Office at Airbus and Brain Moran, Chief Sustainability Officer at Boeing along with Virgin Atlantic’s Shai Weiss and British Airways’ Sean Doyle.

Welcoming recent steps by the UK Government to further the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel the airlines the panel agreed that it shouldn’t just be left to the airlines and aircraft manufacturers to find the solutions and that the wider industry along with government to drive the change and find solutions.

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said: “It’s not often that you see two sets of competitors going toe to toe on stage, but today was unusual.

“We agreed that radical collaboration is required for our industry to reach Net Zero by 2050 with a focus on the near-term, including fleet modernisation, wide adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), as well as longer term technological innovation including Hydrogen and electrification.

“Last week, Virgin Atlantic published much anticipated finding from Flight100 as an open resource to show the industry that SAF is a safe, 100% drop-in replacement for fossil fuels. Decarbonisation is a big issue for all of us and we need to get it right, so there is not a choice for consumers between flying and being green; and the approximately 60% of the world who have not yet flown. Our position at Virgin Atlantic is clear – if enough SAF is made, we will fly it.

100% SAF fuel is loaded onto the RAF Voyager at Brize Norton (MOD Crown Copyright)

Gareth Rogers, CEO of Farnborough International, added: “Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024 has cemented itself as a pivotal platform for industry, government, and regulators to put in place meaningful change to create a more sustainable future for aerospace and aviation. The meetings and discussions held over the last two days will propel strategy and partnerships forward, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with the global industry at Farnborough International Airshow in July.”

The event also showcased the latest technology from companies including British Airways, GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Embraer, WheelTug, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, Nebo Air, Aerospace Technology Institute, Reaction Engines, and UK Civil Aviation Authority.

The event also saw Haffner Energy announce Paris-Vatry SAF, a new Sustainable Aviation Fuel production project which will help meet the demand for decarbonisation of air travel. The SAF biofuel will be produced using thermolysis of local biomass residues.

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