South African Airways (SAA) and Boeing work together to develop the first ever sustainable aviation fuel supply chains in Africa

Chicago, United States, 2013-10-14 — / — South African Airways (SAA) is committed to ensuring that environmental sustainability is the cornerstone of how the national carrier’s business is done into the future. This is in line and under the guidance of the Department of Public Enterprise’s Climate Change Policy Framework for State Owned Companies.

A key driver in SAA’s push to optimally achieve industry goals is the establishment of a sustainable alternative fuels program, or biofuel program. This program recognizes that environmental, social, and economic viability must converge for any renewable fuel supply to become feasible and meaningful.  When done properly, these new fuels and supply chains will enable South Africa to diversify its energy sources, increase export opportunities, and do so in a manner that is environmentally and socially responsible.

SAA and Boeing are working together to develop the first ever sustainable aviation fuel supply chains in Africa.  New developments in technology enables conversion of biomass into fuel in a more sustainable manner than previous approaches in the region, and this unlocks options which avoid competition with food and water resources needed for other sectors.

Under the climate change policy guidance of the Department of Public Enterprises, SAA has been able to accelerate the Sustainable Alternative Fuel Program to the stage of robust multi-stakeholder evaluation following rigorous feedstock pathway and best practice research. Government continues to play a key role in ensuring the progress of the program and has offered invaluable support on this initiative. The program is aligned to the National Climate Change Response White Paper and Green Economy intentions of South Africa.

SAA has chosen to partner with the Boeing Company due to the rich and cross-cutting knowledge base and biofuel capability that the Boeing Company has developed over the past decade along with a strong technological focus and an extensive network of successful partners and engagements in this field. The Boeing Company has a dedicated biofuel team that is recognized as amongst the best in the world and has a history of successful partnership and implementation along with global initiatives designed to move aviation biofuels towards successful implementation.

SAA is taking the lead in Africa on sustainable aviation fuels and, by setting a best practice example, can positively shape biofuel efforts in the region. With SAA and Boeing teams integrated, the optimal global technology can be applied to meet the unique conditions of Southern Africa.

SAA and Boeing are committed to only investigating feedstock pathways that comply with strict global and domestic sustainability guidelines and that can have a positive change for South Africa. Specific feedstocks, partners, and technology choices will be shared as supply chain programs are announced, but the range of options is much wider than previous regional assessments suggest primarily owing to new technologies and a better understanding of sustainable practices.

The WWF-SA are participating in this program in order to monitor and ensure compliance to approved sustainability principles that ensure fuel is sustainable and would furthermore  lead to genuine carbon reductions.

Social Responsibility:
SAA has evaluated the possibilities for sustainable aviation fuel and has identified that this initiative would create large-scale social upliftment opportunities and social benefit to the people of South Africa through job creation, economic upliftment, Enterprise Development, technology transfers, reduction in carbon footprint and security of fuel supply that would allow for reduction of volatility in fuel pricing and some stabilization in long term planning and pricing.

SAA has committed to the voluntary targets that the International Air Transport Association has laid out for reduction of carbon. SAA’s Head of Group Environmental Affairs, Ian Cruickshank, is a member of the Environment Committee of IATA and the Chairman of the IATA Environment Assessment Working Group. SAA is in the process of joining several industry organisations that ensure sustainability through strict global standards.

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About SAA
South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 26 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa and internationally from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA and South African Travel Centre (SATC). SAA is the winner of the ‘Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for eleven consecutive years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on-time airlines.

For more information contact:
SAA Group Corporate Affairs


Ian Cruickshank
SAA Head of Group Environmental Affairs
+27 11 978 1081
083 277 8428

Twitter: @flysaa