A Ryanair deal with global energy group Repsol and the launch by Italian carrier ITA Airways of its ‘Fly with SAF’ programme, together with the signing of an agreement with logistics provider DB Schenker, and a Neste agreement with World Fuel Services are among a number of new European sustainable aviation fuel initiatives. Ryanair and Repsol have signed a MoU to advance the supply of SAF at airports used by Ryanair across Spain and Portugal. The ITA programme offers freight forwarders and shippers the possibility of supporting the purchase of SAF and thus reducing their CO2 emissions while shipping their goods. In Hungary, energy and petrochemicals company MOL, in cooperation with Neste, Budapest Airport, Wizz Air and airport fuel supplier RÜK have started commercially testing a SAF supply chain to prepare the fuel supply system ahead of the EU SAF mandate introduction in 2025. With greater volumes of SAF available from Neste, World Fuel Services is increasing the number of European airports it can supply with SAF from 13 to over 40.
Ryanair’s agreement with Repsol gives Europe’s largest low-cost carrier access to up to 155,000 tonnes (52 million gallons) of SAF between 2025 and 2030 – equivalent to over 28,000 flights from Dublin to Madrid – and saving around 490,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
“SAF plays a key role in Ryanair’s Pathway to Net Zero strategy and our goal of using 12.5% SAF by 2030,” said Ryanair DAC CEO Eddie Wilson. “Achieving this requires multiple different feedstocks and production methods, and we’re encouraged that Repsol are looking at multiple solutions. This agreement helps Ryanair secure access to around 15% of this ambitious goal.”
ITA Airways’ Fly with SAF has been designed for cargo companies and companies whose staff fly for work and contributions will be entirely used by the airline to cover the extra cost of SAF, with customers choosing their level of commitment. DB Schenker is the first partner to enter the programme.
The Italian flag carrier is taking part in the 2023 edition of the SkyTeam airline alliance’s The Sustainable Flight Challenge, following its success last year when it won two awards. ITA will participate with four flights involving a round-trip Airbus A330 flight on May 20 from Rome Fiumicino to Miami and its return journey the same day, followed by return flights between Rome and Barcelona on May 28 using an Airbus A320neo. Activities will include the use of SAF, more sustainable catering, waste recycling and use of compostable materials, and use of accredited carbon offsets meeting internationally-recognised standards.
The SAF testing at Budapest Airport started on May 10 with Wizz Air flights using a blend of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel supplied by MOL. Wizz Air’s three newest Airbus A321neo aircraft were fuelled with a total blend of 23.5 tonnes containing 37% SAF and 63% Jet A1 fuel. The aircraft carried passengers from Budapest to Paris and several other European destinations.
Commented Yvonne Moynihan, Corporate and ESG Officer at Wizz Air: “Our SAF test, which is ahead of the legislative mandates coming in 2025, demonstrates that industry collaboration is one of the most impactful ways to address the current climate challenge. The initiative at Budapest Airport is a testament to our broader strategy, with alternative fuels playing a significant role.”
MOL itself is aiming to enter the SAF production market. “So far, we have mainly taken steps in road transport fuels. At our Danube refinery, for example, we have been co-processing vegetable oils, used cooking oils and animal fats with fossil components since 2021 to produce more sustainable diesel,” said Csaba Zsótér, SVP of MOL Group’s Downstream Fuels. “We are now moving into a new area, working with our partners to gain experience in aviation fuels to make aviation more sustainable. I am confident that the first SAF shipment, which is now being launched as a commercial test, will be followed by many more.”
The expansion of production by Neste is enabling fuel supplier World Fuel Services to increase deliveries of SAF to its commercial, business and general aviation customers at over 40 European airports, paving the way for future accessibility of SAF to more than 100 airport locations presently in World Fuel’s European network.
“We are confident this agreement and deeper collaboration with Neste will serve to accelerate our ability to support customers in their decarbonisation ambitions across the globe,” said Duncan Storey, VP Supply Aviation Europe, World Fuel Services.
Responded Alexander Kueper, VP EMEA Renewable Aviation at Neste: “We are excited to expand our collaboration with World Fuel as we increase our annual SAF production capability to 1.5 million tons per annum by the beginning of 2024.”
Photo: ITA Airways Airbus A350 in ‘Born to be sustainable’ livery