Korean Air [003490:KS] will use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on the Incheon-Paris route to cut carbon emissions, as reported by the Korea Herald on February 18. The airline has secured an agreement for SAF supply with an unnamed foreign company on February 1. However, the airline has not decided on the date of delivery for this initiative. The announcement came as the French government recently mandated local jet fuel suppliers to blend no less than 1% of SAF with traditional jet fuel by law.
SAF is made from fossil-fuel-free raw materials such as vegetable oil and animal fat. This alternative fuel has the potential to cut emissions by up to 80% throughout its life cycle compared with traditional jet fuels. Currently, the aviation industry accounts for 3% of global carbon emissions. As a result, companies and regulators are looking to transition the industry towards more environmentally friendly operations. For example, Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus [AIR:FP], sees hydrogen planes as a medium- and long-term answer to aid with decarbonization. Airbus showcased three hybrid hydrogen concept aircraft in September 2020, claiming that they might be in service as early as 2035. In addition, China’s civil aviation industry has introduced initiatives to minimize carbon emissions by increasing jet fuel efficiency and adopting environmentally friendly jet fuels. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has stated that it will continue to push SAF pilot applications in the future to increase annual SAF consumption to more than 20,000 tons by 2025.