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Qantas aircraft to be powered by renewable biojet from 2020

Australia-headed air carrier Qantas Group has announced that its Los Angeles Airport (LAX) based aircraft will be powered by biofuel from 2020, reducing the airline’s carbon emissions on its services operating between the US and Australia. Over the next decade, the airline will purchase eight million gallons (≈ 30 million litres) of renewable jet fuel per annum from US-based bioenergy company, SG Preston.

Qantas has signed a 10-year 8 million gallon (≈ 30 million litre) per year biojet offtake agreement with SG Preston starting 2020. The 50:50 blend fuel will be used by its aircraft operating out of Los Angeles Airport (LAX) on services between the US and Australia (photo courtesy Qantas).

According to Qantas, the biojet fuel deal is the first of its kind in Australian aviation history. The fuel will be used by Qantas’ aircraft operating from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to Australia and follows the Qantas Group’s successful domestic biofuel trial flights in 2012.

The partnership with SG Preston is part of our commitment to lowering carbon emissions across our operations and sees us becoming the first Australian airline to use renewable jet fuel on an ongoing basis. As an airline group we are constantly looking for ways to become more fuel efficient and embrace new technologies and this partnership is a significant step on that journey. Our agreement with SG Preston allows us to secure a supply for our Los Angeles based aircraft where we have a large fuel demand and where the biofuel industry is more advanced said Gareth Evans, CEO of Qantas International and Freight.

Evans also said that the airline is “exploring renewable jet fuel opportunities in Australia” through its biofuel programme and that it will continue to work with suppliers to develop locally produced biofuels for aviation use.

Qantas is showing great leadership in its commitment to biofuels. We look forward to providing a high-performance renewable fuel for one of the most important routes on their international network, said Randy Delbert LeTang CEO of SG Preston.

The fuel consists of 50 percent renewable jet fuel produced from non-food plant oils, blended with 50 percent traditional jet fuel. Compared to standard jet fuel, the biofuel emits half the amount of carbon emissions per gallon over its life cycle.

IATA congratulates Qantas and SG Preston on this landmark agreement, being the first commercial biofuel offtake for an Australian airline. Deals such as these are critical to the development of an aviation biofuel sector globally and the achievement of the aviation industry’s climate goals, commented Michael Gill, Director of Environment for IATA.

In 2012 Qantas and Jetstar operated Australia’s first biofuel trial flights. Qantas’ A330 Sydney-Adelaide return service and Jetstar’s A320 Melbourne-Hobart return service were both powered with biofuel derived from used cooking oil (UCO) blended 50:50 with conventional jet fuel supplied by SkyNRG.

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