Virgin Australia’s Low-Carbon Aviation Fuel

Virgin Australia has led an Australian-first by conducting a trial of the commercial use of sustainable aviation fuel, and recently announced that aircraft had flown more than one million kilometres under its current trial.

Since August 2018, Virgin Australia has welcomed four deliveries of the low-carbon aviation fuel, which has then been blended with traditional jet fuel and supplied into the general fuel supply system at Brisbane Airport. All aircraft operating in and out of Brisbane were then fuelled with this product.

The four deliveries, which arrived in August, December, February and June, have fuelled more than 700 flights, flying to a diverse range of domestic and international destinations.  

Virgin Australia, in partnership with the Queensland Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation, US-based biofuel producer Gevo, Inc. and supply chain partners Caltex and DB Schenker, first announced its intention to start the trial in October 2017.

The focus was to work across the supply chain to move one step closer to a thriving sustainable aviation fuels industry in Australia.  

There is no doubt that the environmental impact of aviation on our planet is huge because aircraft engines emit heat, noise, particulates and gases which contribute to climate change. As airline travel continues to grow, it’s critical that all airlines look at ways to reduce environmental impact and transition toward being more sustainable in every way they can.

Virgin Australia’s chief legal and risk officer, Dayna Field, said the one million kilometres flown represents an important milestone and demonstrates that this low carbon product can go the distance.

We are actively looking at ways to reduce our carbon emissions and low-carbon fuels present a real working opportunity. As a diversified airline group, we know that establishing a local low-carbon fuel industry will have positive environmental, social and economic impacts

Dayna Field, Chief Legal and Risk Officer, Virgin Australia

“We are actively looking at ways to reduce our carbon emissions and low-carbon fuels present a real working opportunity. As a diversified airline group, we know that establishing a local low-carbon fuel industry will have positive environmental, social and economic impacts,” she said. 

Brisbane Airport Corporation chief executive officer, Gert-Jan de Graaff, said that sustainable aviation fuel was a perfect example of airlines and airports working together to achieve sustainable targets. “Brisbane Airport recognises the importance of working with its airline partners to implement practices that will ensure a greener future for our industry. We will continue to collaborate with Virgin Australia as further opportunities are identified to expand upon the sustainable aviation fuel agenda moving forward.”

Late last year, Virgin Australia removed the use of plastic straws and stirrers from its inflight and Lounge operations.  The move saw more than 260,000 plastic straws and 7.5 million plastic stirrers a year removed from operations and replaced with paper straws and bamboo stirrers.

To find out more about Virgin Australia’s commitment to sustainable solutions visit their sustainability page