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British Airways makes sustainability pledge for Cop26 flights

British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle (centre) joins British Airways head of sustainability Carrie Harris (left) and Air BP chief executive officer Martin Thomsen (right) as they talk to the media at Heathrow Airport during an announcement on the airline's sustainability programme.

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

British Airways is to buy an amount of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) equivalent to the traditional fuel its aircraft will burn transporting Cop26 delegates.

The airline has formed a collaboration with energy giant BP to source SAF in relation to its fights between London and the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh during the climate summit in Glasgow in November.

This will provide a “lifecycle carbon reduction of up to 80%”, according to the carrier.

The flights will use traditional jet fuel, but SAF will be bought by British Airways and used on other routes near where it is sourced.

The pledge is part of British Airways’ new sustainability programme named BA Better World.

Passengers can now purchase SAF to reduce their carbon footprint.

The airline has partnered with Airbus to paint one of its most fuel efficient planes, an A320neo, in blue to promote the initiative.

Speaking at British Airways’ engineering base at Heathrow Airport, west London, British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said the firm is “on our most important journey yet”.

He went on: “We’re clear that we have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet and have a detailed plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, including investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft, improving our operational efficiency and investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and zero emissions aircraft.”

In April, British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group (IAG) became the first European airline group to commit to powering 10% of its flights with sustainable jet fuel by 2030.

IAG said it will buy a million tonnes of SAF every year, enabling it to cut its annual carbon emissions by two million tonnes by the end of the decade.

SAF is produced using materials other than crude oil, and produces about 70% less carbon emissions.

It is more expensive than traditional fuel, but it is hoped technological advances will reduce costs.

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