- The flight was operated by LATAM Cargo Chile from Zaragoza, Spain, to North America.
- This co-processed sustainable aviation fuel was produced from used cooking oil. This component has an attributed CO2 reduction factor of 80% during its life cycle.
Spain. March 2, 2023 LATAM Group completed its first international flight with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight was operated by LATAM Cargo Chile between the Zaragoza airport and North America, in line with the Group’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
SAF is a biofuel made from alternative biomass sources such as waste, fats, and oils, which are co-processed with fossil feedstocks fuel to produce synthetic, low-CO2 fuel. In this case, 30,000 liters of co-processed SAF made from cooking oil were used, combined with traditional jet fuel.
The SAF used for this flight has been internationally certified according to the procedures established by the International Sustainability Carbon Certification (ISCC EU) to ensure its sustainability. The fuel was provided by Air bp, one of the world’s leading suppliers of aviation fuel, representing the first production of ISCC EU SAF made at the Castellón refinery in Spain. With this milestone, LATAM Group has become the first airline group to procure its SAF from Air bp at the Zaragoza airport, an achievement made possible thanks to the collaborative efforts between LATAM and Air bp and other contributing partners like AENA and Exolum.
A maximum of 5% of sustainable feedstock is currently permitted in the co-processing of this kind of fuel, which reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 80% during its life cycle compared to conventional aviation fuel.
“This flight represents one of the Group’s most visible advances in the it’s agenda concerning the use of SAF. At LATAM we made a commitment to contribute to the protection of our environment, and the introduction of this type of fuel is a key step in that direction. We are very pleased about this achievement, since the use of SAF requires the involvement and cooperation of multiple actors, and the success of this operation proves that such collaborations are possible. This was a first step, and we will continue to explore alternatives to make significant contributions to the environment and the communities where we operate,” said Andrés Bianchi, CEO of LATAM Cargo.
“This latest announcement is another major milestone in Air bp’s efforts to increase SAF availability. It marks a decisive step in the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources at existing refineries. Co-processing plays a key role in increasing SAF production in a more efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Andreea Moyes, Air bp’s Global Head of Sustainability.
LATAM’s commitment to South America
In May 2021, LATAM launched a revamped sustainability strategy that included a number of challenging goals: Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, remove all single-use plastic from its operation in 2023, and become a zero waste-to-landfill company by 2027.
To that end, the company has defined three work lines regarding climate change management: reducing emissions through operational efficiency and better practices, migrating to sustainable fuels as these become available, and compensating emissions by conserving strategic ecosystems of high environmental value.
The efforts for decarbonizing the industry by increasing the use of SAF are still challenged by the limited worldwide availability resulting from the lack of conditions to scale up SAF research, development and production.
Access in Latin America remains a major hurdle for those who seek to increase the use of SAF produced in the region. South America has enormous potential to produce SAF in terms of its natural resources and expertise, and is therefore in a privileged position to make a significant contribution to climate action. “The need to advance an agenda that involves the different stakeholders in the promotion of SAF production in the region has become a pressing matter. As an airline group, we are responsible for stressing our commitment in this regard by providing assurance about SAF demand to governments and producers alike. This is why we have announced and are indeed striving to incorporate 5% of sustainable fuel by 2030, with special preference for producers in South America,” said Roberto Alvo, LATAM’s CEO.
About Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is a type of fuel produced from alternative feedstock such as waste, fats, and oils. This fuel must meet certain sustainability criteria that include avoiding competition with food production and water usage, and carbon emission reduction on a life cycle basis.