“The development of sustainable aviation alternative fuels could provide a very large part of the industry’s emissions-reduction strategy. Research has shown that, on a full carbon lifecycle basis, using the equivalent quantity of some alternative fuels could reduce CO2 emissions by around 80% compared to the jet fuel they replace.

Since the first biofuel flight in a commercial aircraft took place in 2008, there has been a huge amount of work by the industry and our partners. Certification through the global fuel standards agency ASTM allowed us to operate using biofuels and more than 1,500 commercial flights on alternative fuels have flown since 2011.

Click here for a table of all the commercial flights on sustainable aviation fuels since certification was granted.

The alternative fuels we are investigating are second-generation feedstocks that can be grown or produced without negatively impacting food supplies, water or land use. Importantly, they are also ‘drop-in’ fuels which share the same properties as the jet fuel we use today, so can simply be blended with the current fuel supply as they become available

Many of the technical hurdles facing aviation in its move towards sustainable aviation fuels have been overcome and much of this work has been achieved within the industry. Now, commercialisation and scaling up of the supply of alternative aviation fuels is the most important task. But airlines and the rest of the industry cannot do it alone – political support and financial investment will have to come from a number of stakeholders.

This section outlines six suggested steps that policymakers can consider in helping their air transport system grow with less carbon-intensive fuel, whilst in many cases also investing in green growth jobs and a new sustainable industry. These steps are presented in no particular order:

There are many examples of stakeholder-oriented processes, all of which are groups of regional and national stakeholders, who have convened to work through the sustainability, supply, investment and long-term planning issues and maximise the opportunities within their respective regions. Within coming years, many significant commercial, policy and sustainability outcomes will result from such comprehensive regional stakeholder processes. These processes serve to enable commercial parties, while also giving confidence to governments and civil society organisations that sustainable aviation fuels efforts are following a planned path.

The aviation industry has established a plan for reducing emissions. Sustainable aviation fuels are an important part of that plan and, as you will have seen in this publication, the industry and its partners have made significant progress. There is confidence that alternative fuels can be a very significant part of every airline’s future.  From policymakers, the industry is looking for encouragement and the right set of legal, fiscal and policy responses to ensure this exciting new energy stream can bear fruit as quickly as possible. 



The aviation industry has made it clear that it is only looking at second-generation biofuels and is determined not to repeat the mistakes made with first-generation sources, expecting any supply to be fully sustainable. The industry is working together through groups such as the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) to make sure that any fuels used by the industry are, in fact, sustainable.

Initiatives around the world

Businesses from across aviation’s value chain are coming together in projects around the world to help with the commercialisation of alternative aviation fuels. Below is a list of such initiatives and links to their websites: