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Vueling completes first flight using SAF

Spain-headed Vueling Airlines SA (Vueling), part of International Airlines Group (IAG), has completed the airline’s first flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Manufactured and supplied by compatriot oil, gas, and multi-energy major, Repsol S.A. (Repsol) the SAF used on the Barcelona-Seville route was produced at its Tarragona Industrial Complex using biomass.

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Vueling Airlines SA (Vueling) has completed its first flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) manufactured and supplied by Repsol S.A. (Repsol) from its Tarragona Industrial Complex (photo courtesy Repsol).

IAG was the first airline group in Europe to commit to operating 10 percent of its flights with sustainable aviation fuels by 2030. Vueling, as part of IAG, shares the vision of leading the way towards a sustainable global airline industry.

The plane took off at 9.10 am from the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona – El Prat airport on November 10, 2021, and landed in Seville where the Tourism Innovation Summit (TIS) begins today and will analyze sustainability and innovation in the tourism sector over the three-day event.

All-encompassing commitment

According to Vueling, this low carbon footprint flight from Barcelona to Seville has avoided the emission of 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), thanks to the efficiency provided by the new generation Airbus A320neo, the use of biofuel, and the efficiency procedures implemented.

Vueling has the third most modern fleet in Europe, as of 2019, and has carried out a number of initiatives to reduce its emissions as much as possible since 2012.

The A320neo aircraft, which covered 820 kilometers from Barcelona to Seville, has avoided the emission of around 63 kg of CO2 thanks to weight reduction initiatives such as digital paperwork, and Slim Seats.

Other operational efficiency measures such as optimal flap configuration (ailerons whose function is to increase the aircraft’s lift at low speeds), applying an optimal flight level and speed, as well as other initiatives that allowed the flight to reduce 81 kg of CO2 emissions.

Vueling’s commitment to the environment is all-encompassing. This first flight using sustainable fuel is a big step in our commitment to reducing our CO2 emissions and the use of 10 percent of SAF by 2030. A confirmation of the feasibility of using the latest generation of aviation fuels that use completely sustainable sources such as urban waste and biomass as raw materials, said Marco Sansavini, Chairman of Vueling.

Collaboration agreement

This initiative is part of the collaboration agreement signed between Repsol and Vueling to create a working group and advance the introduction of SAF in day-to-day aeronautical operations.

The aim is to promote sustainable mobility in the aviation sector through the development and consumption of new fuels with a low environmental impact with a special focus on the promotion of research of the latest generation of alternative aviation fuels.

In the short term, fuels that are produced with fully sustainable raw materials, such as urban waste or biomass, and, in the medium and long term, renewable hydrogen, among others.

These sustainable fuels will be the safest and most efficient option in the coming years for reducing emissions in air transport, where electrification is not currently viable and renewable hydrogen still requires a higher degree of technological maturity.

Given the importance of biofuels in reducing emissions, Repsol has been working for 15 years to develop different low carbon footprint solutions applied to transport. It is a pioneer in the manufacture of sustainable aviation fuels in Spain, such as the batch of biojet manufactured in Tarragona that has been used in this flight. The production of biofuels is one of the main axes in Repsol’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan that aims to transform the company’s industrial business and step up its commitments to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, said Javier Sancho, Director of the Repsol Industrial Complex in Tarragona.

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