Emirates operating with SAF at London Heathrow Airport after largest fuel purchase

image is Emirates Airline SAF 3 London Heathrow Credit Emirates

More than 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.  Picture: Courtesy of Emirates

Emirates has taken delivery of sustainable aviation fuel from Shell Aviation - the airline’s largest purchase of the cleaner commodity - at London Heathrow Airport.  

More than 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.

Announced on Wednesday, this is the first occasion the Dubai-based airline will be using SAF to power some flights at the UK hub. 

Boosting SAF use

Emirates is participating in London Heathrow’s SAF Incentive Programme, which ensures its affordability and accessibility for airlines operating at the airport.

The Middle Eastern carrier will be accounting for, tracking and tracing delivery of SAF at Heathrow, as well as its sustainability attributes through robust reporting methodologies.

Shell Aviation SAF bought by Emirates will be safely dropped into existing airport fuelling infrastructure and aircraft jet engines; in its neat, unblended form, SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared with conventional jet fuel usage.

Lower emissions

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Deputy President and Chief Operations Officer, said the airline was eager to take this “next step in our SAF journey” with Shell Aviation and London Heathrow in one of its 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,” he said.

Pioneering steps

Al Redha said the SAF initiative also demonstrated “credible action to encourage 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”. 

The executive said he hoped the initiative would receive collective support of government authorities to boost more investment in SAF production in the future.

Ongoing collaboration

Raman Ojha, President of Shell Aviation, said that after his company’s successful collaboration with Emirates to supply SAF to Dubai last year, it was “pleased to continue our support for their sustainability journey by enabling the airline to decarbonise flights out of the UK”. 

He continued: “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 to make SAF available in more locations around the world.”

Driving aviation change

London Heathrow’s SAF Incentive launched in 2022 as a first of its kind scheme, providing a support mechanism to reduce the premium price gap between conventional jet fuel and SAF by approximately 50%. 

The scheme aims to accelerate supportive government policies and to increase UK competitiveness by unlocking investment in clean energy investments, such as SAF production.

Heathrow’s Chief Commercial Officer, Ross Baker, described SAF as crucial to decarbonising long haul flights as it can cut carbon on routes like London to Dubai without the need for new aircraft or infrastructure.

Enhancing use and availability

He commented: “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.”

Emirates’ SAF strategy includes exploring opportunities to use it operationally wherever available in the airline’s network and by cooperating on longer-term SAF projects with reputable partners. It currently operates flights from Amsterdam, Paris, Lyon and Oslo with SAF. 

Last year, Emirates collaborated with Shell Aviation to supply the fuel into Dubai Airport fuelling systems for the first time ever, and is this month due to work with local partners at Singapore Changi Airport for the supply of SAF through fuelling systems there. 


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