Virgin Atlantic and British Airways CEO’s have called for “radical collaboration” between government, aviation fuel providers and the wider industry to reach net zero by 2050, at the Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024.

Sitting on a panel with Julie Kitcher, Chief Sustainability Office at Airbus and Brain Moran, Chief Sustainability Officer at Boeing, Virgin Atlantic’s Shai Weiss and British Airways’ Sean Doyle discussed the positive steps made between the organisations and the increased investment in sustainable technology to reduce carbon emissions.

While progress is being made and the UK Government’s SAF mandate is welcome, the panel agreed that it is not just the OEMs’ and airlines’ responsibility to drive changes, and more needs to be done by the government and the wider sustainable aviation fuel infrastructure to achieve the targets set.

Speaking of the panel discussion, Weiss said: “It’s not often that you see two sets of competitors going toe to toe on stage, but today was unusual.

“We agreed that radical collaboration is required for our industry to reach Net Zero by 2050 with a focus on the near-term, including fleet modernisation, wide adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), as well as longer term technological innovation including Hydrogen and electrification.

“Last week, Virgin Atlantic published much anticipated finding from Flight100 as an open resource to show the industry that SAF is a safe, 100% drop-in replacement for fossil fuels. Decarbonisation is a big issue for all of us and we need to get it right, so there is not a choice for consumers between flying and being green; and the approximately 60% of the world who have not yet flown. Our position at Virgin Atlantic is clear – if enough SAF is made, we will fly it.”

Held 15-16 May at Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre, Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024 convened international aviation and aerospace market leaders, UK Government and global media to accelerate global standards and cultivate collaboration from all corners of the world.

On day one Anthony Browne MP, Minister for Aviation, Decarbonisation and the Future of Transport at the Department for Transport met with exhibitors at the show and held an exclusive industry roundtable to highlight the progress his department is making, and the Jet Zero Council held a working group meeting to discuss the efforts to deliver net zero and zero emission aviation through UK production of zero-emission flights and SAF.

The following day Mark Harper MP, Secretary of State for Transport, joined the discussion on stage, sharing the government’s plans to power Britain to the forefront of sustainable aviation.

Gareth Rogers, CEO of Farnborough International, said: “Sustainable Skies World Summit 2024 has cemented itself as a pivotal platform for industry, government, and regulators to put in place meaningful change to create a more sustainable future for aerospace and aviation.

“The meetings and discussions held over the last two days will propel strategy and partnerships forward, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with the global industry at Farnborough International Airshow in July.”

The technology showcase displayed the latest developments in sustainable aviation technology, services and intelligence from industry pioneers, including British Airways, GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Embraer, WheelTug, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, Nebo Air, Aerospace Technology Institute, Reaction Engines, and UK Civil Aviation Authority.

During the event, Haffner Energy announced Paris-Vatry SAF, a new Sustainable Aviation Fuel production project designed to meet the exponential demand for the decarbonisation of air transport. The biofuel will be produced using Haffner Energy’s patented technological process, via the thermolysis of local biomass residues.

Featuring over 40 speakers, the event has seen a 24% increase year-on-year in registration and attended by thousands of aerospace and aviation professionals, Sustainable Skies World Summit will return 14-15 May 2025.
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter

You may also be interested in

BA and Virgin Atlantic CEOs to speak at SSWS

SSWS 2024 to accelerate progress towards net zero

Frontier Airlines introduces sweeping changes to product offerings