Qantas has announced a $400 million sustainability fund and is calling for the Australian government to mandate blending sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to cut carbon emissions.
Unveiled as part of the airline’s 2023 Investor Day, the fund will include Qantas’s existing $290 million partnership with Airbus to develop an Australian SAF industry, and will add an extra $110 million for projects such as “high-integrity carbon offsets, offshore SAF investments, and operational efficiency technologies”.
Qantas Group chief sustainability officer Andrew Parker said the airline needs to “turbocharge” its climate efforts to reach its goal of a 25 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
“We’re backing our targets with an expanded investment of up to $400 million to help projects get off the ground, because it’s new technologies and bringing proven solutions to scale that will deliver the emissions reductions we need, and protect the future of travel in the process,” he said.
“Governments around Australia are making important progress on working with industry to help decarbonise, and we welcome that. Creating markets for new fuels is a critical part of tackling climate change, which is why we’re today calling for a SAF mandate to be introduced to catalyse the development of the industry.”
Parker noted that several of its destination countries already have SAF blending mandates of five to 10 per cent by 2030, and that Australia is well-placed to create a domestic SAF industry.
“Without the right policy settings and signals we will see investment, projects and feedstocks move offshore to places with specific policy support. We look forward to working with government and the rest of the industry to ensure we capitalise on this opportunity for Australia,” he said.
Qantas and Airbus earlier this year announced they will jointly invest $2 million to help create what will likely be the first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facility in Australia.
The site in Queensland will transform agricultural by-products, including sugarcane, into up to 100 million litres of SAF annually. Construction is expected to start as soon as next year.
The Flying Kangaroo said the money would be used for a feasibility study and “early-stage project development”, but told reporters it’s confident the project will go ahead.
Qantas currently purchases its sustainable fuel from overseas, including 10 million litres for flights out of London annually.