BA completes first carbon neutral flight

The demonstration flight is a major milestone in the airline’s short, medium, and long-term initiatives to achieve net zero emissions by 2050

British Airways has announced the completion of its first carbon neutral passenger flight, from London Heathrow to Glasgow Airport.

Flight BA1476 - operated by an Airbus A320neo - was powered directly by bp’s sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with the remaining emissions produced by the flight offset.

Photo British Airways 

An electric Mototok vehicle, powered by Heathrow’s supply of 100% renewable electricity, was deployed to push the airliner back. Additionally, a single engine was used to taxi to the runway, almost halving the amount of power used to start its journey.

The jet, which was adorned in a special sustainability livery for the trip, is the quietest and most fuel-efficient short-haul aircraft currently used by the airline.

Following advances in engine technology, aerodynamics, cabin, and flight operations, A320neos now burn 20% less fuel in comparison to its predecessor, according to the carrier.

The airline has also installed lighter seats and replaced heavy flight manuals and inflight magazines with digital downloads, to reduce weight and subsequently lower fuel emissions.

As part of its newly launched BA Better World sustainability programme, the business plans to invest in hydrogen-powered aircraft and carbon capture technology, whilst continuing to support the development of SAF.

“This flight offered a practical demonstration of the progress we’re making in our carbon reduction journey,” said the operator’s CEO Sean Doyle. “By working together with our industry partners we’ve delivered a 62% improvement in emissions reductions compared to a decade ago.

“This marks real progress in our efforts and shows our determination to continue innovating, working with governments and industry, and accelerating the adoption of new low carbon solutions to get us closer still to the perfect flight of the future.”

This pioneering journey was the culmination of a partnership between BA, NATS, Heathrow, Glasgow Airport, Airbus and bp, which aims to decarbonise the aviation industry.

Martin Thomsen, SVP of bp aviation, added: “We are honoured to join forces with British Airways on this important initiative. At bp we are focusing on working with hard-to-abate sectors, such as aviation, as part of our ambition to be net zero by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get there too. By working collaboratively with industries, we can help to accelerate decarbonisation and we believe SAF will be one of the key solutions to fulfil this for the aviation sector.”