Airbus Further Reduces Its Beluga Fleet’s Environmental Impact

Beluga - aviatorsbuzz

Airbus has taken the next step in reducing its industrial carbon footprint with the maiden flight of a Beluga super-transporter using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from the aerospace company’s Broughton plant in the UK.

The north Wales line station, which uses this aircraft fleet to transport aircraft wings to Toulouse, Hamburg and Bremen, becomes the second Airbus European site to use SAF, after Hamburg introduced the fuel to its cargo activities at the end of 2019.

“This first flight by a Beluga transporter from Broughton, partially fuelled with SAF, marks an important milestone in Airbus’ ambition to decarbonise its industrial operations,” said Tony Derrien, Sustainable Aviation Fuels Project Manager, Airbus.

Mr. Derrien added that combined with their ongoing research into the potential for 100% SAF in commercial flights, reducing fossil-fuels in their own operations underlines Airbus’ commitment to lessening the impact of our manufacturing footprint and contributing towards a more sustainable future for the aviation sector more generally.

Beluga - aviatorsbuzz
An Airbus Beluga aircraft being refuelled with Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Beluga To Reduce 400 Tonnes CO2

Sustainable aviation fuels are currently certified by regulators for up to 50% use in commercial flights; the fleet operating from Broughton will initially be loaded with a 35% blend of non-fossil derived fuel, set to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 400 tonnes over the next three months.

The SAF used by this fleet is made from used sustainable feedstocks, such as cooking oil, and supplied to Airbus in Broughton and Hamburg by Air bp.

Andy Owen, Beluga Line Station Manager at Broughton, added: “The progressive deployment of sustainable aviation fuels at Airbus’ sites is an essential part of our decarbonisation roadmap. We’re proud that Broughton has become the second Airbus site to introduce SAF in its Beluga-fleet operations.”

Air BP, the international aviation fuel products and service supplier, has recently supplied sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to three airports in the UK: dedicated business aviation airport, London Biggin Hill (BQH), Airbus owned Hawarden (CEG) airport in Flintshire, North Wales, which will be used for fueling of the Beluga aircraft, and Centreline FBO, in Bristol (BRS).

All three locations expect to have SAF available on an ongoing basis. These latest supply agreements demonstrate the importance of collaboration between fuel supplier, airport and customer in driving demand for SAF and ultimately help to meet the industry’s lower carbon goals.

Lifecycle Carbon Reduction

The SAF blend supplied is around 35% SAF and the SAF component provides a lifecycle carbon reduction of around 80% compared to traditional jet fuel it replaces.

Andreea Moyes, sustainability director, Air BP, said: “We are excited to see these ongoing commitments to SAF supply. Stakeholders’ willingness to invest in SAF and collaborate with us will help drive demand and deliver carbon reductions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces. We are committed to working with stakeholders to explore the viable sale and purchase of SAF, which we believe is one of the aviation industry’s key routes to reducing carbon emissions.”

Stephen Elsworthy, manager of fuel services at London Biggin Hill Airport, says: “By offering Air BP’s sustainable aviation fuel to all our customers and resident businesses, we are helping them to meet their sustainability goals too, and vitally, contributing to our industry’s aim for a net zero carbon future”.

Gus Paterson, chief operating officer of Centreline’s parent company Pula Aviation Services Limited, said, “In response to growing demand, we’re delighted to be able to offer SAF to our customers and to support global efforts to decarbonize aviation. Air BP is fully committed to supporting its FBOs in understanding SAF and the impact and opportunities it can have for their business and ultimately identifying opportunities for SAF supply.”

Air BP was involved in fuelling the first SAF flight by an airline in February 2008 and since then has been enabling ground-breaking test flights and investing in sustainable alternative fuels.

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