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GREEN: SAA Continues to Lead Global Aviation’s ESAA Continues to Lead Global Aviation’s Environmental Pursu


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SAA Continues to Lead Global Aviation’s Environmental Pursuit; Airline Accepted As Member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials

South African Airways (SAA) was this week accepted as a member of the Swiss based Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). The RSB is an international multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together farmers, companies, non-governmental organisations, experts, governments, and inter-governmental agencies concerned with ensuring the sustainability of biomass and biomaterial production and processing. Earlier this year SAA also became one of only two global carriers (Finair Oyj) to achieve Stage 2 status of the IATA Environmental Assessment Programme (IEnvA).

“Membership of the RSB not only serves as recognition for the Biofuels programme but,” says SAA Acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, “it provides the business with a further networking platform to engage with NGO’s and leaders in the biomaterials field to progress and enhance our programme.” The RSB is currently certifying SAA’s Biofuels project. “This underpins our efforts to develop a sustainable and ultimately commercially beneficial Biofuel supply chain in South Africa. As the global community continues to move toward sustainable energy sources and, together with our partners, the medium to long-term environmental and possible financial benefit of the initiative becomes more evident every day.”

SAA intends to draw expertise, engage with and work together with global role players in the biomaterials sector to extract maximum benefit from its activities and RSB membership.

“Biofuels can be produced economically and the tobacco project evidences the significant progress made by research and development in this field over the past decade,” says Bezuidenhout. The airline has taken a long-term view on the project. “Innovation across all areas of our business will set the pace of growth at SAA and, along with full implementation of the Long-Term Turnaround Strategy, the dual benefit of environmental benefit and future commercial impetus will serve SAA and our country well.”

Last year SAA launched the first African biofuels project, the transformation of tobacco oil to jet fuel, with sector role players such as Boeing, Sunchem and SkyNRG and achieved Stage 2 IEnva (IATA Environmental Assessment Programme) accreditation in record time.

The initiative was followed by the introduction of new fuel efficient navigation approaches (RNP-AR: Required Navigational Performance, Authorisation Required). Inside SAA there is also an on-going drive to embed a culture of recycling against set targets with policy directing the airline toward ultimate emission reduction leadership in both continental and global aviation.

SAA plans to operate a series of flights using Biofuel, produced at the pilot tobacco plant in Limpopo, later this year.

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