Emirates begins operating with SAF at London Heathrow Airport

This is the first time the airline will be using sustainable aviation fuel to power some of its flights at London Heathrow and represents the largest volume of SAF it has purchased to date.

Emirates has taken delivery of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from Shell Aviation at London Heathrow Airport.  Over 3,000 metric tonnes of neat SAF, blended with conventional jet fuel, will be supplied into the fuelling infrastructure network of the airport until the end of summer 2024. 

This is the first time the airline will be using SAF to power some of its flights at London Heathrow and represents the largest volume of SAF it has purchased to date. Emirates is participating in London Heathrow’s SAF Incentive Programme, which ensures its affordability and accessibility for airlines operating at the airport.

The airline will be accounting for, tracking and tracing the delivery of SAF at London Heathrow as well as its sustainability attributes through robust reporting methodologies. The SAF that Emirates has purchased from Shell Aviation will be safely dropped into existing airport fuelling infrastructure and aircraft jet engines. In its neat form, SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to using conventional jet fuel.  

“Emirates is eager to take this next step in our SAF journey with Shell Aviation and London Heathrow supporting us with this fuel supply arrangement in one of our biggest operations outside of Dubai. The LHR Incentive Programme will support the SAF market’s increasing momentum, allowing airlines like Emirates to take advantage of its availability and make it more commercially viable,” said Adel Al Redha, Deputy President and Chief Operations Officer, Emirates Airline.

“London Heathrow’s SAF initiative also demonstrates credible action to encourage the scale up and use of SAF by airlines, building local production capabilities grounded in real demand, in addition to developing capacities across the supply chain to blend, handle and distribute SAF more widely. We hope that the initiative receives collective support of government authorities to boost more investment in SAF production in the future,” added Al Redha.

He expressed that while Emirates explores opportunities to increase the use of SAF within the network, it’ll continue to take other steps to reduce our emissions, with a major focus around optimising flight operations including weight reduction of aircraft and charting more efficient flight routes, among other initiatives.

Raman Ojha, President, Shell Aviation shared, “After our successful collaboration with Emirates to supply SAF to Dubai (DXB) last year, we are pleased to continue our support for their sustainability journey by enabling the airline to decarbonise flights out of the UK. This development also marks further progress in the growth of our global SAF supply network. Our goal is to continue to work with forward-thinking players in the aviation industry, like Emirates and London Heathrow, to make SAF available in more locations around the world.”

“Thanks to commitments from airlines like Emirates, we expect to support the use of up to 155,000 tonnes of SAF at Heathrow this year. Now we need to ramp up SAF production in the UK so the country can benefit from jobs, growth and energy security as more airlines make the switch to more sustainable fuels,” stated Ross Baker, Chief Commercial Officer, Heathrow.

Launched in 2022, London Heathrow’s SAF Incentive is the first of its kind scheme that provides a support mechanism to reduce the premium price gap between conventional jet fuel and SAF by approximately 50%. Schemes such as the one at London Heathrow aim to accelerate supportive government policies, increasing the UK’s competitiveness by unlocking investment in clean energy investments like SAF production.

Emirates’ SAF strategy focuses on exploring opportunities to use SAF operationally wherever it is available in the airline’s network, share emissions costs with corporate customers or freight forwarders where feasible, cooperate on longer-term SAF projects with reputable partners and support SAF ventures in the UAE with the potential to supply Sustainable Aviation Fuel at its hub.

Emirates currently operates flights from Amsterdam, Paris, Lyon and Oslo with SAF. Last year, the airline collaborated with Shell Aviation to supply SAF into Dubai Airport fuelling systems for the first time ever, allocating the SAF to a number of flights. In May of this year, the airline plans to work with local partners at Singapore Changi Airport for the supply of SAF through the airport’s fuelling systems. 

Earlier this year, Emirates became the first international carrier to join the Solent Cluster in the UK, an initiative focused on low carbon investments with the potential to create a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) plant that can produce up to 200,000 tonnes (200 kt) per year if operational by 2032. The Solent Cluster is a cross-sector collaboration of international organisations, including manufacturers and engineering companies, regional businesses and industries, leading logistics and infrastructure operators and academic institutions.

Emirates has been operating to the UK since 1987 and currently serves seven gateways with 131 weekly flights including: six times daily A380 to London Heathrow (and an additional five times weekly utilizing the Boeing 777 aircraft until 26 October 2024); three times daily A380 service to Gatwick; twice daily service to Stansted; three times daily A380 service to Manchester; twice daily service to Birmingham (including a daily A380 service); daily service to Newcastle; and a daily A380 service to Glasgow.