IAG Sets 10% SAF Usage Goal By 2030

There is a lot to relish in the future of aviation. The coming decades are set to herald advances in areas like seat design and supersonic technology. However, the future airline industry is also likely to be more sustainable than today. There are several ways in which companies and groups are striving to ensure a greener future for commercial aviation. With this in mind, IAG has committed to power 10% of its flights with sustainable fuel by 2030.

BA and Iberia are the group’s two largest airlines. Photo: Curimedia via Wikimedia Commons

10% SAF operations by 2030

The International Airlines Group (IAG) announced earlier this week that it is aiming to operate 10% of its flights using sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) by 2030. It plans to achieve this by obtaining one million tonnes of sustainable fuel on an annual basis. IAG claims to be the first European airline group to be making such a commitment.

The result of this partial transition to SAFs will be a two million tonne reduction in the group’s annual emissions by the end of the decade. It claims that this saving equates to taking one million European cars off the road every year. IAG’s CEO, Luis Gallego, stated:

For more than a decade, IAG has led the airline industry’s actions to reduce its carbon footprint. It’s clearly challenging to transition to a low carbon business model but, despite the current pandemic, we remain resolute in our climate commitments.”

The challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have not affected IAG’s sustainability commitments. Photo: Getty Images

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An additional, longer-term goal

The target of operating 10% of IAG’s flights using SAFs represents a strong step towards a wider goal shared by many industry leaders. Specifically, many airlines, manufacturers, and groups are striving to achieve ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions by 2050. With this widely-shared ambition in mind, the group added that:

“IAG will become the first airline group worldwide to extend its net zero commitment to its supply chain. The Group will be working with its suppliers to enable them to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 for the products and services they provide to IAG.”

IAG in a nutshell

IAG is a European holding company that came into existence in 2011 as a result of a merger agreement between British Airways and Iberia. This saw the flag carrier airlines of the UK and Spain become wholly-owned subsidiaries of the wider group.

IAG’s most recent acquisition was Spanish carrier Air Europa in 2020. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

This was not the first co-operation between the two carriers, as they were already (and remain) partners in the oneworld alliance. Although the group’s registered office is situated in Madrid, Spain, its headquarters are in the British capital of London.

Since its formation, IAG has purchased a handful of additional airlines. These joined the group in the following years.

It has also previously attempted to acquire low-cost airline Norwegian, although it withdrew its stake in the Scandinavian carrier in 2019. In addition to the airlines that IAG has acquired, it created its own low-cost brand, known as Level, in 2017. Overall, its commitment to sustainable fuels as a leading airline group is a strong and commendable statement.

What do you make of the IAG’s sustainability target? How would you like to see airline groups reduce their emissions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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