American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), the B2B travel platform, and Shell Aviation, have urged the private sector to help decarbonise aviation by joining a landmark sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) pilot programme.

Professional services firm Aon has become the first Amex GBT customer to commit to the programme, and discussions are in “advanced stages” with several other global and multinational customers and airlines.

The SAF will be certified in line with the regulatory standards set within the country of delivery.

Business travel

While representing a relatively smaller portion of aviation, business travel can play a large role in leading the transition towards net-zero aviation. Businesses and organisations joining this pilot will contribute to reducing emissions and driving wider adoption of SAF.

Shell Aviation will supply SAF into the aviation fuel network, and book-and-claim enables travellers to invest in and benefit from SAF, even if SAF is not available at their departure airport. SAF will instead be fed into another aircraft in an airport where it is available.

Net-zero world

Amex GBT CEO Paul Abbott said: “This pilot is an important foundational step on our journey towards a net-zero world by 2050. As more businesses and organisations like Aon join this SAF pilot programme, market signals will grow stronger, making SAF more cost-competitive with conventional jet fuel.”

Jan Toschka, President, Shell Aviation, said: “SAF is the only viable option for reducing aviation emissions in the near-to medium-term. Lower or zero carbon technologies such as hydrogen and electric flight are decades away from having impact at scale, while SAF can be used immediately without the need for a fundamental change in infrastructure or aircraft design.”

‘Bold moves’

James Platt, Aon’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We believe there is an opportunity to chart a better path for both our firm and society to become more resilient and sustainable. As we help our clients make better decisions as they navigate the volatility and risk in managing climate transition, we are also making bold moves to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are proud to be among the first to join this initiative in piloting a solution for SAF that will help Aon and others meet their emissions reduction targets and sustainability commitments.”

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