MIAMI – British Airways (BA) has started its “most important journey” by launching a new sustainability program named “BA Better World.”

The airline celebrates the program by having one of its new and most fuel-efficient A3230 neo aircraft painted, in partnership with Airbus, with an “ad hoc” colors and logo and unveiled during an event held today at the BA engineering base.

The step taken by BA marks the carrier’s commitment to put sustainability at the core of its business by reducing emissions and waste as its contribution to a better world both for the communities served by BA and for the people working for the carrier.

During the event, BA showcased the actions already taken to reduce emissions and promote sustainability such as switching from diesel-powered to electric-powered pushback tows, removing paper documentation and in-flight magazine or switching to lighter passenger seats to reduce aircraft weight and reduce fuel burn.

British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner G-ZBJF – Photo: Roberto Leiro/Airways

Decarbonizing Aviation

British Airways has set history in the industry’s efforts toward a decarbonized aviation by being the first airline to report its carbon footprint, in 1992, and, in 2002, to participate in the UK emissions trading. The BA parent group, IAG, was the first to make a commitment to a “net-zero CO²” by the year 2050. In 2020, BA was again the first airline to freely choose to offset all emissions deriving from domestic flights.

Along with the unveiling of the specially painted A320 neo, BA also announced a partnership with Briitish Petroleum (BP) and a commitment to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for all its domestic flights between London (LHR), Glasgow (GLA), and Edinburgh (EDI) during the Conference of Parties on Climate, COP26, to be held in GLA during November 2021.

SAF, once blended with traditional aviation fuel to attain certification requirements, allows a reduction in emissions of approximately 80% when compared to normal fuel. This SAF will be used to power flights during the COP26. As an additional action to offset emissions, BA is offering its customers the possibility to purchase SAF via a non-profit organization “Pure Leapfrog” and reduce their carbon footprint.

IAG, BA’s parent company, is also engaged in the development and use of SAF and is investing US$400m over a span of 20 years to foster its development. On its side, BA is engaging in partnerships with fuel companies and technology poles to further develop and use SAF and BA cited Velocys in the UK and LanzaJet in the US as part of it partners. BA goal, which is part of the IAG commitment, is to reach 10% of its fuels needs by using SAF by the year 2030.

British Airways Boeing 777-300 G-STBF – Photo: Roland Rimoczi/Airways

Comments from British Airways CEO

During the presentation of the special livery A320 neo, Sean Doyle, BA Chairman and CEO, said, “With BA Better World we’re on our most important journey yet – to a better, more sustainable future and one which will ensure the long-term success of our business.”

“We’re clear that we have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet and have a detailed plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, including investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft, improving our operational efficiency, and investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuel and zero emissions aircraft.”

"Thanks to our new collaboration with BP, we are able to source enough sustainable aviation fuel with respect to all our flights between London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh during COP26." British Airways CEO and Chairman Sean Doyle Click To Tweet

Doyle added, “It is only through working in partnership with Government and industry that we’ll be able to reach our targets and I’m delighted that, thanks to our new collaboration with bp, we’re able to source enough sustainable aviation fuel with respect to all our flights between London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh during COP26, substantially reducing the emissions associated with taking our customers to and from COP26by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel. “

“This commitment for COP26 is in addition to the mandatory carbon trading we already operate in the UK and our own further voluntary carbon offsetting of our UK domestic flights.”

British Airways Airbus A320-200 G-EUUY – Photo: Milan Witham/Airways

Comments from BP CEO, Airbus

He was followed by Martin Thomsen, CEO of bp’s aviation division, who stated, “We’re thrilled to collaborate with British Airways by supplying sustainable aviation fuel with respect to all of its flights from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh for the COP26 event.  Our companies have a long-standing relationship and will continue to work together on sustainable aviation fuel supply initiatives on an ongoing basis. At bp we want to help decarbonize the aviation industry and we will continue to collaborate with industry stakeholders and governments to explore viable options to help scale up sustainable aviation fuel more broadly.”

Julie Kitcher, Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs and Communications at Airbus, and a member of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council, also commented on the commitment taken by BA and said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with BA on this journey and feel proud BA has chosen one of our A320neos to highlight the importance of sustainability for the future of the industry. 

“The aircraft has 20% less fuel burn & CO2 emissions compared to A320ceo and 50% less noise so it’s a great choice and I am looking forward to seeing the new livery in the sky. BA is committed to a sustainable future and contributing positively to climate change mitigation and adaptation. We will achieve the ambition of a net-zero carbon emissions industry by 2050 through cooperation and collaboration and this initiative is a clear example of that.”

Featured image: British Airways Airbus A320 neo in special BA Better World livery. Photo: British Airways