The airline has pledged to operate a minimum of 10% of its flights with SAF by 2030.
The Spanish carrier Iberia Express (a regional brand of the larger Iberia) completed its first flight employing sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). The fuel was provided by Cepsa, and the flight was operated between Seville Airport (SVQ) and Madrid Barajas International Airport (MAD) onboard an Airbus A321neo.
Reaching a new milestone
More and more airlines are starting to employ SAF in their daily operations in one way or another. This Friday, Iberia Express joined these sustainable efforts by partnering up with Cepsa and operating a flight with fuel that had up to 4.5% of sustainable aviation fuels, an amount higher than the target set by the European Union for the year 2025.
This flight was part of a broader initiative by both companies to make the Seville Airport a hub for sustainable aviation fuels for the next seven days. Iberia Express’ service was the first of more than 16 to be operated over the next few days from Seville that will use SAF produced at the Cepsa Energy Park in La Rábida (Huelva) from olive pits and other vegetable waste from the olive sector in Spain, said the airline in a statement.
Iberia Express operates 28 weekly flights at Seville, according to data by Cirium. It is the airport’s fourth most important carrier behind Ryanair, Vueling, and Malta Air.
Last January, Iberia Express and Cepsa signed an agreement undertaking a project to promote and accelerate the large-scale decarbonization of air transport. Moreover, Iberia Express has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and to operate a minimum of 10% of its flights with sustainably sourced fuels by 2030. The overall International Airlines Group, or IAG (which includes Iberia and its subsidiaries), set these goals.
Daniel Lozano, Sustainability and Transformation Manager at Iberia Express, said today the company took another step forward in its commitment to achieve zero net emissions by 2050 and operate SAF flights by 2030.
“Since our inception, the company has been working every day to contribute to a more sustainable mobility for people and the planet with a roadmap based on three pillars: more efficient operations, a more sustainable travel experience, and the promotion of R&D for the development of sustainable fuels and other technologies that contribute to the decarbonization of the sector,” he added.
The importance of SAF
The airline industry is trying to become net zero in the next few decades, and using SAF is critical. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), sustainable aviation fuels will contribute around 65% to achieving net-zero carbon by 2050, while new technologies, improvements to infrastructure and operations, and offsetting will contribute the remainder.
In order for SAF to contribute around 65%, it will require a massive increase in production to meet demand. The largest acceleration is expected in the 2030s as policy support becomes global, SAF becomes competitive with fossil kerosene, and credible offsets become scarcer, recently said IATA. Until April 2022, over 450,000 flights and 50 airlines worldwide had used SAF.