News

SAA Makes History with Africa’s First Sustainable Biofuel Flights

SAA Makes History with Africa’s First Sustainable Biofuel Flights

South African Airways (SAA) made history when an aircraft going to Cape Town from Johannesburg became Africa’s first to fly on jet fuel made from tobacco plants.

On 15th July, Boeing 737-800 flights on SAA and low-cost subsidiary Mango between Johannesburg and Cape Town were the first sustainable biofuel flights to take place on the African continent.

The flights used homegrown feedstock from the Marble Hall area in the Limpopo region of South Africa as part of Project Solaris, a biofuels project named after the energy tobacco plant used. The nicotine-free, hybridised tobacco plant lends itself to the production of biofuel as the Solaris plant produces small leaves, prodigious flowers and seeds that are crushed to extract a vegetable crude oil. The Solaris plant is ideally suited for this purpose as the remaining seedcake is used as a high protein animal feed supplement that also contributes to food security.

“The project has brought economic and rural development to the Limpopo province in keeping with SAA’s mandate to support the South African National Developmental Plan,” said Musa Zwane, Acting Chief Executive. “It establishes a new regional bio jet fuel supply chain of which we can rightfully be proud. We want to be flying 50% of our airliners using biofuels by 2022.”

This biofuel is refined to a high global specification and can be blended with conventional fossil jet fuel and used as a ‘drop in’ fuel. This means that no modifications to the aircraft or engines are required at all and the aircraft is simply fuelled with this certified blend. Aviation biofuels undergo more tests and have to meet stricter specifications than conventional jet fuel. All fuel used conforms to global standards.

The long-term ambitious goal of the programme is to operate all flights out of SAA’s hub at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on sustainable biofuels.

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 52 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 42 years.

More in News

TUI Group Reports €1.1bn Loss as Bookings Transfer to 2021

Neil SteedmanAugust 13, 2020

3,000 Redundancies in Ireland’s 3,500 Travel Agent Workforce “in Weeks”

Neil SteedmanAugust 11, 2020

Travel Agents Highly Critical of Government’s Green List and July Jobs Stimulus

Neil SteedmanAugust 11, 2020

Canary Islands Introduce Travel Assistance Policy to Cover Visitors for Covid-19 Expenses

Neil SteedmanAugust 11, 2020

Visit Portugal Launches Covid-19 Insurance for Travellers

Neil SteedmanAugust 11, 2020

Travellers using Dubai hub need to carry a negative COVID-19 test document

Michael FloodAugust 11, 2020

Silversea enhances online marketing toolkit for travel advisors

Michael FloodAugust 11, 2020

Virgin Atlantic Airlines files for bankruptcy in New York

Michael FloodAugust 11, 2020

Royal Caribbean Group extends suspension of sailings

Michael FloodAugust 11, 2020

Copyright © 2019 Belgrave Group Limited, C4 Nutgrove Office Park, Nutgrove Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, Ireland