Airbus’ site in Broughton, UK, has become its second European site to introduce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into its cargo activities.

A Beluga super-transporter aircraft, partially fuelled by SAF, departed the Welsh Airbus site as part of the aerospace company’s plans to reduce its industrial carbon footprint.

The Broughton hub – which uses the Beluga fleet to transport aircraft wings to Toulouse, Hamburg and Bremen – became the second site to use the fuel after Airbus’ Hamburg operations introduced SAF to its activities at the end of 2019.

“This first flight by a Beluga transporter from Broughton, partially fuelled with SAF, marks an important milestone in Airbus’ ambition to decarbonise its industrial operations,” said Tony Derrien, sustainable aviation fuels project manager at Airbus.

“Combined with our ongoing research into the potential for 100 percent SAF in commercial flights, reducing fossil fuels in our own operations underlines Airbus’ commitment to lessening the impact of our manufacturing footprint and contributing towards a more sustainable future for the aviation sector more generally.”

Sustainable aviation fuels are currently certified by regulators for up to 50 percent use in commercial flights; the Beluga fleet operating from Broughton will initially be loaded with a 35 percent blend of non-fossil derived fuel, set to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 400 tonnes over the next three months.

The SAF used by the Beluga fleet is made from used sustainable feedstocks, such as cooking oil, and supplied to Airbus in Broughton and Hamburg by Air bp.