How Heathrow Benefits from Emirates & Shell's SAF Deal

In the largest SAF agreement ever for Emirates, Shell Aviation is supporting the airline working to decarbonise aviation at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport is the UK’s largest airport and was the fourth busiest airport in the world in 2023. Emirates has been operating in the UK since 1987 and currently has 131 weekly flights out of Heathrow.

As part of Heathrow’s SAF Incentive, Emirates is using SAF to power its flights from Heathrow for the first time.

“We are thrilled to support Emirates with Heathrow’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) scheme,” says Ross Baker, Chief Commercial Officer at Heathrow.

Ross Baker, Chief Commercial Officer, Heathrow

“SAF is crucial to decarbonising long haul flights as it can cut the carbon on routes like London to Dubai without the need for new aircraft or infrastructure,” he adds.

“Thanks to commitments from airlines like Emirates, we expect to support the use of up to 155,000 tonnes of SAF at Heathrow this year. Now we need to ramp up SAF production in the UK so the country can benefit from jobs, growth and energy security as more airlines make the switch to cleaner fuels.”

Before becoming Chief Commercial Officer, Ross was Heathrow’s Director of Operations and, prior to that, Director of Strategy.

He joined Heathrow in 2011, bringing a wealth of experience from advisory and industry roles. His background includes time at Bain & Company, where he consulted on strategic, commercial and operational projects. Before Bain, Ross spent a decade at British Airways, in a variety of operational and commercial management positions in the UK and internationally.

What is SAF?
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF, refers to a biofuel used to power aircraft that has similar properties to conventional jet fuel but with a smaller carbon footprint.
  • In its neat form, SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to using conventional jet fuel.
Emirates SAF

Emirates is working with Shell Aviation to use over 3,000 metric tonnes of SAF, blended with conventional jet fuel, over the summer of 2024. 

As part of the SAF rollout, Emirates will be tracking and tracing the sustainability attributes of the SAF at Heathrow.

Shell Aviation supports decarbonisation

“After our successful collaboration with Emirates to supply SAF to Dubai (DXB) last year, we are pleased to continue our support for their sustainability journey by enabling the airline to decarbonise flights out of the UK,” says Raman Ojha, President of Shell Aviation. 

“This development also marks further progress in the growth of our global SAF supply network. Our goal is to continue to work with forward-thinking players in the aviation industry, like Emirates and London Heathrow, to make SAF available in more locations around the world."

Raman Ojha, President of Shell Aviation

Raman previously headed up Shell’s Construction & Road business and brings extensive experience within global and regional B2B businesses, covering different parts of the value chain. He has over 18 years of experience at Shell.

He has led the decarbonisation agenda for Construction & Road, working with external customers, government and policymakers. 

What is Heathrow’s SAF Incentive?
  • In 2022, Heathrow launched its SAF Incentive. The first of its kind scheme provides a support mechanism to reduce the premium price gap between conventional jet fuel and SAF by approximately 50%. In 2023, airlines committed to 1.5% SAF, with plans to scale up in 2024 and beyond, with a target of 11% SAF usage by 2030.

Reducing emissions in the air

“Emirates is eager to take this next step in our SAF journey, with Shell Aviation and London Heathrow supporting us with this fuel supply arrangement in one of our biggest operations outside of Dubai,” says Adel Al Redha, Deputy President and Chief Operations Officer of Emirates Airline. 

“The LHR Incentive Programme will support the SAF market’s increasing momentum, allowing airlines like Emirates to take advantage of its availability and make it more commercially viable.”

Emirates SAF

“London Heathrow’s SAF initiative also demonstrates credible action to encourage the scale up and use of SAF by airlines, building local production capabilities grounded in real demand, in addition to developing capacities across the supply chain to blend, handle and distribute SAF more widely.

"We hope that the initiative receives collective support of government authorities to boost more investment in SAF production in the future. While Emirates explores opportunities to increase the use of SAF within our network, we’ll continue to take other steps to reduce our emissions, with a major focus around optimising flight operations including weight reduction of aircraft and charting more efficient flight routes, among other initiatives.”

Adel Al Redha, Deputy President and Chief Operations Officer, Emirates Airline

Since joining Emirates in 1988, Adel Ahmad Al Redha has been a pivotal player within the operations team in various capacities. His experience over the years has covered all aspects of operations and logistics which includes engineering, flight operations, service delivery, airport services, network operations and aircraft procurement.

In his various roles with the company, he was instrumental in introducing ab-initio cadet programmes, engineering apprenticeships and air transport management for UAE nationals pursuing a career in aviation. He also played a vital role in expanding the engineering and maintenance department including the state-of-the-art engine maintenance shop and the establishment of the Emirates Flight Training Academy.

Emirates SAF

Adel is a key member in the definition of aircraft specifications, and in scoping the Emirates product in relation to cabin interiors and inflight entertainment.

In addition, he has been instrumental in transforming into the digital process across all aspects of operations, most recently the introduction of paperless cockpit and use of biometric machines and automated passenger movement within the airport. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2013.

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