Australia’s Qantas Airways [QAN:AU] and Airbus [AIR:FP] have inked an agreement to invest up to USD200m for the development of a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia, as reported by Reuters on June 19. The partnership came one month after Qantas’s multibillion-dollar procurement order for 12 special Airbus jets for ultra-long-haul flights. According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, the company intends to invest in large to develop an SAF industry in Australia since the country has yet to establish its own. Qantas also hopes the investment could encourage the Australian government to improve its policy framework and help fund the development of a local SAF industry.
Qantas has set a target to use 10% SAF in its fuel mix by 2030. This alternative jet fuel, made from fossil-fuel-free raw materials, could cut carbon emissions by up to 80% throughout its lifecycle compared with traditional jet fuels. In a scenario where the global airline industry reaches net-zero emissions by 2050, SAF usage needs to rise from around 100m liters a year in 2021 to at least 449m liters a year in 2050. To decarbonize the aviation industry, Airbus also sees hydrogen planes as medium- and long-term solutions in addition to SAF use. Consequently, Airbus revealed three hybrid hydrogen concept aircraft in September 2020 with plans for operation as soon as 2035.