The country’s largest carrier IndiGo has joined a sustainable initiative spearheaded by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The airline has become a signatory to the Clear Skies for Tomorrow, India Coalition campaign.
“IndiGo’s commitment to the deployment of sustainable initiatives will help in achieving a significant scale for SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) to gain a critical mass and bring in cost-efficiency for widespread adoption in India,” it said in a release.
On February 18 this year, IndiGo operated its brand new A320 neo plane from Toulouse, France to New Delhi with a 10% blend of SAF.
While SAF is yet to be approved for commercial flights, various test flights, powered by such fuel, have been operated. SAF will reduce carbon emissions.
Over a period from 2016 to 2023, the airline is aiming at a 16% reduction in carbon emissions, he said while speaking at an event at the airport to mark the arrival of the aircraft.
Clean Skies for Tomorrow, launched in January 2019, provides a crucial mechanism for top executives and public leaders, across and beyond the aviation value chain, to align on a transition to sustainable aviation fuels as part of a meaningful and proactive pathway for the industry to achieve carbon-neutral flying. The global coalition now has more than 80 members.
The goal is to have commercially viable SAF production (both bio and synthetic) at scale for industry-wide adoption by 2030 to support aviation’s overall net-zero pathway by 2050.
SAF is a biofuel used to power aircraft that has similar properties to conventional jet fuel but with a smaller carbon footprint.
Depending on the feedstock and technologies used to produce it, SAF can reduce life cycle GHG emissions dramatically compared to conventional jet fuel. Some emerging SAF pathways even have a net-negative GHG footprint.
Many SAFs contain fewer aromatic components, which enables them to burn cleaner in aircraft engines. This means lower local emissions of harmful compounds around airports during take-off and landing. Aromatic components are also precursors to contrails, which can exacerbate the impacts of climate change.
In July, IndiGo had a domestic market share of 58.8%. IndiGo currently has a fleet of 275 aircraft and all of them are narrow-body planes such as A320neos and A321neos with just economy class seats.
IndiGo had placed an order for 300 A320neo family planes, which include A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR, with Airbus in October 2019.