Heathrow launches revised sustainability strategy – Business Traveller

While regarding demand management as “a last resort”, the airport says that it has been “a long-standing advocate of the polluter pays principle and passengers should pay the carbon costs of their flights.

“By applying robust carbon pricing, for example by including flights in the UK Emissions Trading System, the cost of carbon will be included in air travel. This will have some impact on passenger demand but it will also provide a stronger incentive for aerospace manufacturers and airlines to innovate and invest to cut carbon.”

On Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), the airport says that “The main barrier to SAF is economic not technological: it costs more than kerosene. This means that airlines struggle to sign agreements to purchase it, and investors are therefore hesitant to back new plants.”

Heathrow is encouraging ‘”three key market signals from the UK Government [to] help kick-start the SAF market.”

  1. A mandate requiring fuel producers to make SAF.
  2. A price support mechanism to make SAF an affordable alternative for airlines.
  3. Capital funding / loan guarantees for first of type plants.

To hit the target of 11 per cent SAF at Heathrow by 2030 the airport admits it is “largely reliant on the UK Government introducing the right policies – and quickly. To see the first dedicated SAF plants opening by 2025, the mandate and price supported policies will need to be legislated by the end of 2022.”

From this year the airport’s landing charges “will include a new financial incentive for airlines to help make SAF more affordable for airlines. The incentive will support 0.5% SAF purchase in its first year, climbing steadily in the following years. It is also offering passengers the opportunity to buy SAF through its offsetting partner Chooose [sic]

For passengers travelling to the airport, Heathrow will soon be publishing an “updated surface access strategy”. The airport highlights the full opening of the Elizabeth Line in 2022/2023 will make a real difference, providing direct train services to Heathrow from central London, the City, and the Docklands financial district and beyond. The airport also started to charge a drop-off fee in October of last year and will launch a new ‘Sustainable Travel Zone’ this year, “improving active travel and public transport connectivity and introducing financial support on key commuting routes for colleagues. It says that 30 per cent of employees live within 10 kilometres of the airport, “a good distance for cycling, so we will also invest in improvements to cycle lanes to encourage people to commute by bike.”

The report can be downloaded from the Heathrow website

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