First easyJet flight takes off from Gatwick Airport using sustainable aviation fuel

Gatwick Airport has welcomed a milestone moment as the first easyJet flight took off this morning powered by sustainable aviation fuel.

The flight marks the first time any airline at Gatwick has used the fuel, known as SAF, on a departing flight, and is also the first usage by any easyJet service.

A 30% SAF blend is to be used on all easyJet flights operating to Glasgow throughout the COP26 Climate Change Conference, a total 42 flights.

SAF fuel is produced from 100 per cent renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, which in its neat form and over its life cycle, can achieve a reduction of up to 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions compared to the use of fossil jet fuel.

The easyJet flight set for take off at Gatwick this morning, powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

A spokesman for Gatwick said the milestone 'confirms the strong commitment of all parties involved - international aviation fuel supplier Q8Aviation, easyJet, Gatwick Airport Ltd and Neste - to achieve a net carbon emission reduction in the fuel used in aviation and work towards an ultimate goal for aviation to reach net zero emissions by 2050'.

From today easyJet has introduced an electric hydrant dispenser provided by World Fuel Services at the airport - the first in the UK - to further decarbonise its Gatwick operations.

Tim Norwood, director of corporate affairs, planning and sustainability of Gatwick Airport, said: "We are pleased to work with our partners to be the first airport in the VINCI Airport network to introduce SAF on a commercial flight and prove the concept that Gatwick is ready and able to operationally utilise SAF. SAF is one of several ways that UK aviation and Gatwick will reach net zero carbon by 2050, alongside carbon offsets, airspace modernisation, and continued innovation in aerospace technology, including electric, hydrogen, and hybrid aircraft systems. With smart government policy to underpin investment in cost competitive UK SAF production, many more flights could be using UK produced SAF by the mid-2020s."

He said achieving net zero emissions by 2050 was a 'great challenge and opportunity' for the industry and Gatwick was 'ready to play our part'.

Crawley MP Henry Smith at Gatwick Airport this morning as the easyJet flight prepared for take-off

Jane Ashton, director of sustainability at easyJet said: "At easyJet, we want to play our part to lead the decarbonisation of aviation. We're pleased to announce that today we're operating using SAF in a proof of concept flight from Gatwick having also committed to using a SAF blend on all flights operating from Gatwick to Glasgow throughout COP26, thanks to a collaborative effort with our partners involved with this project.

"The availability of SAF still needs to grow but they will be an important interim solution in our decarbonisation pathway, while we are supporting the development of zero-emission aircraft, which will be the most sustainably solution for short-haul networks such as our own in the long term. In the meantime, we are operating our flights as efficiently as possible and are currently the only major European airline to off-set carbon emissions from the fuel used for all our flights, which has an impact right now."

Naser Ben Butain, General Manager Q8Aviation said: “We are delighted to play our part in supplying the first sustainable aviation fuel to easyJet at Gatwick. We have forged a strong partnership with easyJet over many years, and benefit from excellent support from Gatwick Airport Ltd and Neste and look forward to working closely with all the partners to further our sustainability objectives.”

Jonathan Wood, Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation at Neste said: “The aviation industry has already taken important steps to reduce its environmental impact. A key element in achieving this is the wider introduction of sustainable aviation fuel. Neste is investing as we speak to increase SAF production capacity from 100k metric tonnes to 1.5 m metric tonnes annually in 2023. Neste welcomes government proposals to encourage the use of SAF to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions. It is important that more and more airlines, airports and fuel suppliers lead the way to a more sustainable future for aviation. We are happy to welcome easyJet, Q8Aviation and Gatwick Airport among these frontrunners. "

Duncan Storey, Vice President, Supply Aviation Europe at World Fuel Services said: "We congratulate easyJet and Gatwick Airport's vision to expand beyond SAF and to decarbonise the aircraft turnaround. We’re committed to helping every customer reach their sustainability goals. For easyJet, we designed and sourced an electric hydrant dispenser. Previously for Gatwick Airport, we provided Airport Carbon Accreditation consulting. World Fuel is unique because we can provide end-to-end solutions in-house through our sustainability division, World Kinect Energy Services."