Kenya Airways (KQ) has become the first African airline to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) from Eni Sustainable Fuel for a long-haul commercial flight from Africa to Europe.
For the first sustainable flight, KQ used a Boeing B787-8 Dreamliner for the return flight between Nairobi and Amsterdam
KQ is among the 22 airlines that have come together this year to participate in the Sustainable Flight Challenge designed to challenge the aviation industry by stimulating and accelerating innovation.
This competition aims to change and bring some industry players through friendly competition. This is the second edition of the Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC) presented by SkyTeam.
Apart from the use of SAF, the preparations for the flight were done to ensure that it was as sustainable as possible. A number of initiatives, covering light travel for guests on the flight, route planning, onboard meals and its packaging, transportation of guests and crew, and gifts were all sustainably prepared as part of the flight KQ116 and KQ117.
Speaking during the flagging off of the Airline at Jomo Kenyatta International airport, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Allan Kilavuka said Kenya Airways is committed to leading the way in sustainable aviation and reducing its carbon footprint.
“This is a significant milestone for the airline and the broader African aviation industry,” said Kivaluka, while attributing the airlines success of the test flight to her collaboration with industry partners and government stakeholders.
The Managing Director cited sustainable aviation industry as a driving force for socio-economic development.
“Our participation in this challenge for the second time demonstrates our commitment as an airline towards sustainable aviation. This allows us to develop and strengthen our business and change and improve the lives of the people we serve,” he stated.
Kivaluka said the data and practices from the flights competition will be used to develop and implement sustainable solutions for the aviation industry, while the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on the flight will generate valuable data and insights that can inform policy decisions, regulatory frameworks, and industry best practices related to SAF.
The MD reaffirmed the airline’s commitment to innovation and sustainable development, assuring that KQ will pilot the use of SAF on the flight, adding that this will be the first time an African carrier uses the fuel for a long-haul commercial flight.
“For us at Kenya Airways, moments like these are a testament to the airline as Africa’s flag bearer in championing Africa and the African aviation industry to generate the most significant innovations to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment,” he added.
Kivaluka observed that from year 2025, all aircraft departing from European airports will incorporate a proportion of sustainable aviation fuels.
He announced that the national airline has partnered with Eni Sustainable Mobility, a leading SAF producer, to obtain SAF for the flight and locally with Flamex Petroleum Ltd in the blending of the fuel.