MONTREAL — Air Canada is marking Earth Day (April 22) by announcing the purchase of 9.5 million litres of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
The airline says it continues to advance initiatives in its Climate Action Plan by strengthening its partnership with SAF producer, Neste, to power flights with Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel from San Francisco International Airport.
The 9.5 million litres of SAF will generate GHG reductions of approximately 23,500 tonnes of CO2e calculated based on a full lifecycle assessment. The 23,500 tonnes of CO2e are equivalent to the annual GHG emissions absorbed by 28,000 acres of forest as per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency equivalencies calculator.
“At Air Canada, we have adopted a multifaceted approach to addressing climate change and sustainability. Environmental and social factors are incorporated into our strategic decisions, as are our fleet purchases and daily operations through our support of low-carbon alternatives. SAF comprises one of our core pillars in pursuing our net-zero emission targets. We have been purchasing Neste’s SAF since February 2022. Today’s announced purchase represents a five-fold increase in our SAF procurement year over year and is an important step towards our target of 1% fuel to be SAF by 2025, supporting our journey towards our 2050 net zero decarbonization goals,” said Air Canada’s President and CEO, Michael Rousseau.
Through Air Canada’s Leave Less Travel Program, corporate customers and cargo freight forwarders can purchase SAF, carbon offsets or a combination of both to offset or reduce GHG emissions related to business travel or cargo shipments, mitigating their carbon footprint.
This program is one of the many comprehensive initiatives being implemented as part of Air Canada’s Climate Action Plan.
Powering aircraft with SAF directly reduces GHG at the source. Sustainable aviation fuel provides an alternative to conventional, fossil-based jet fuel. It is widely recognized as a key lever towards achieving aviation’s GHG emission reduction goals. Using Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel could reduce GHG emissions by up to 80% over the fuel’s life cycle, compared to conventional jet fuel. That 80% figure is calculated with established life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies, such as CORSIA methodology.
The current global SAF supply remains extremely limited, costly, and insufficient to support worldwide demand, notes the airline. Air Canada adds that it looks forward to working with the Canadian government to advance the availability and generate a meaningful supply of Canada-produced SAF for commercial aviation which would also support Canada’s position on climate change, the country’s environment goals, as well as the Canadian aviation industry which is an important economic contributor.
Air Canada has championed several initiatives in this area, including:
- A founding member of the Canadian Council for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (C-SAF), a not-for-profit organization launched in 2022 seeking to bring together key industry stakeholders and government to accelerate the commercial production and use of Canadian made SAF.
- A founding member of, and the first Canadian carrier to join, the Aviation Climate Taskforce (ACT), formed to tackle the challenge of rising CO2 emissions from commercial aviation. Comprised of 10 global airlines and the Boston Consulting Group, the ACT was established to accelerate research and advance innovation related to emerging decarbonization technologies, including through the development of sustainable aviation fuels.
- A signatory of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition. The coalition’s mission is to accelerate the deployment and use of SAF technologies to reach 10% of global jet aviation fuel supply by 2030.
- In 2017, supporting the Civil Aviation Alternate Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research project (CAAFCER), led by Canada’s leading research institute, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), to test the environmental benefits of biofuel use on contrail formation. Air Canada flew a series of five biofuel flights, enabling the NRC to measure the impact of biofuel blends on contrail formation by aircraft.
- In 2016, joining as lead airline for Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI) to identify and help solve supply logistic barriers that arise when aviation biofuels are introduced at major Canadian and international airports – to benefit airlines and other stakeholders of biofuel supply chains.
- Since 2012, Air Canada has purchased 2,399,435 litres of SAF.
Air Canada continues to work towards its ambitious goal of net-zero emissions from all its global operations by 2050, with absolute midterm GHG net reduction targets by 2030 for both its air and ground operations compared to its 2019 baseline.
The airline currently reports its annual GHG emissions, targets and climate strategy through the CDP and in 2022 issued its first Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures aligned report, available here. Additional information about Air Canada’s Environmental Social Governance activities is discussed in the airline’s Corporate Sustainability Report, Citizens of the World.
For more information about Air Canada’s environmental and sustainability programs, visit Leave Less.