Heathrow becomes the first UK airport to offer passengers chance to address carbon emissions with sustainable aviation fuel

October 6, 2021


Heathrow will become the first UK airport to offer passengers the chance to act on their estimated carbon emissions by supporting sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for flights beginning 25th October.

  • The new partnership with CHOOOSE, as well as an augmented reality experience, “Sustainability Showcase,” in Terminal 5, aim to increase passenger awareness and use of SAF as the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow gets underway.
  • This partnership comes as the UK Government announces ambition of at least 10% SAF usage by 2030.

Passengers traveling through Heathrow can now help to address their flight’s estimated carbon emissions by supporting sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). SAF is a low-carbon alternative to conventional jet fuel and will play a key role in helping the aviation sector to decarbonize over the coming decade. Heathrow will be the first airport in the UK to offer passengers this opportunity. The announcement comes as the airport unveiled an augmented reality experience, “Sustainability Showcase,” in Terminal 5, designed to give passengers the chance to explore new technologies first-hand, stimulating discussion around investment in the technology that can help reduce lifecycle carbon emissions generated by air travel.

Address your travel's estimated carbon emissions by supporting SAF

The voluntary platform is powered CHOOOSE, with SAF being provided by SkyNRG. The solution will enable passengers to estimate and address their emissions, regardless of their airline or end destination.

Travelers will select the percentage of estimated emissions they’d like to take action on through the support of SAF, while any remaining emissions can be addressed by supporting certified global reforestation projects. Today, SAF is expensive, but by selecting even a small percentage of SAF to support, passengers can help demonstrate demand for this essential fuel.

With future advancements in aircraft technology like electric or hydrogen-powered flight still some way from commercial implementation, SAF is key to unlocking material reductions in carbon emissions from flying today. Currently, over 60% of Heathrow’s airline partners, by capacity, are committed to turning at least 10% of their fuel supply into SAF by 2030.

The main blockers for SAF usage currently are the high cost and limited production volumes. To tackle this, in addition to voluntary consumer demand, new policy is essential. The UK Government’s announcement last week, in which they declared its ambition to implement a mandate for at least 10% SAF usage by 2030, sends a positive signal to private investors that a growing market for SAF is on the horizon. To bring down costs and trigger investment in scaled-up production, the mandate needs to be complemented with a ‘price support’ policy.

This follows positive news from the global airline association, IATA, that all member airlines have committed to net zero by 2050. Heathrow will continue to support the UK Government in its efforts to secure a global agreement for net zero aviation at ICAO next year, ensuring aviation reduces its carbon emissions whilst protecting the benefits of flying for future generations.

To bring aviation’s decarbonization plans to life, Heathrow is also set to open its Augmented Reality ‘Sustainability Showcase’ ahead of COP26. The immersive experience gives passengers a behind-the-scenes look into the future of green flying and shows how the UK can become a leading force in the production and use of SAF. Exhibited landside in T5, passengers can take a closer look at what the airport is doing to combat carbon, such as running all the airport’s infrastructure on 100% renewable electricity, with the option to purchase SAF on the spot with the new CHOOOSE Platform.

Director of Carbon Strategy, Matt Gorman said:

“We have a real sense of momentum behind reducing carbon emissions from flying – with airlines, airports, fuel companies, airlines, investors and Governments all coming together to tackle the problem. We’re delighted that from today Heathrow passengers will be able to act on the estimated emissions of their flights by supporting SAF with our partner CHOOOSE – the more people who talk about and use SAF, the faster we’ll be able to scale-up production and help to decarbonize flying for good.”

Address your estimated carbon emissions by supporting SAF