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Kenya Airways Leads Africa in IATA’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative

The airline recently operated a long-haul flight using SAF.

Kenya Airways B7878 LHR William Derrickson (1)

A Kenya Airways 787-8 arriving at London Heathrow. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Kenya Airways (KQ) has become the first African airline to spearhead the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Registry. This development was announced by IATA on June 2, 2024. The SAF Registry aims to accelerate the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels by providing authoritative accounting and reporting of emissions reductions from SAF.

The SAF Registry is being collaboratively developed, involving airlines, government authorities, international organizations, OEMs, fuel producers, suppliers, airports, and corporate travel management companies. KQ joins a select group of stakeholders supporting the Registry’s development, including seventeen airlines, one airline group, six national authorities, three Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and one fuel producer. The Registry is slated for launch in the first quarter of 2025.

Other airlines include: Air Canada, Air France-KLM, All Nippon Airways (ANA), American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, DHL Group, Emirates, International Airlines Group (IAG), Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Aviation Group, Qatar Airways, SAS, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, United Airlines. National authorities selected include: Brazil-ANAC, Japan-JCAB, Kazakhstan-AAK, Malaysia-CAAM, Singapore-CAAS, Switzerland-FOCA. OEMs selected include: Airbus, Boeing, GE Aerospace while the Fuel producer chosen is World Energy.

“SAF is key to aviation’s decarbonization. Airlines want more SAF and stand ready to use every drop of it. The SAF Registry will help meet the critical needs of all stakeholders as part of the global effort to ramp-up SAF production. Governments need a trusted system to track the quality and quantities of SAF used. SAF producers need to accurately account for what has been delivered and effectively decarbonized. Corporate customers must be able to transparently account for their Scope 3 emissions. And airlines must have certainty that they can claim the environmental benefits of the SAF they purchased. The Registry will meet all these needs. In doing so, the Registry will help create a global SAF market by ensuring that airlines have access to SAF wherever it is produced, and that SAF producers have access to airlines regardless of their location,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

KQ achieved a groundbreaking milestone last year by becoming the first African airline to operate a long-haul flight using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) provided by Eni Sustainable Mobility. On May 25, 2023, KQ’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner took off from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol, powered by Eni’s sustainable aviation fuel. This achievement earned Kenya Airways the “Most Impactful Breakthrough” award as part of The Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC) by SkyTeam.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is poised to play a pivotal role in the aviation industry’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by accounting for up to 65% of the total carbon mitigation needed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in air transportation. As part of this global effort, the newly established SAF Registry by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is set to be a game-changer.

The SAF Registry will enable airlines worldwide to purchase SAF regardless of production location, ensuring they can claim environmental benefits for regulatory compliance. It will be neutral with respect to regulations, types of SAF, and other specificities under relevant jurisdictions. This flexibility allows it to handle diverse user requirements effectively.

In addition, IATA, as the initiator of the Registry, collaborates with certification organizations and fuel producers. Their joint efforts aim to standardize data for efficient processing within the Registry. Standardization ensures transparency, accuracy, and reliability in accounting for SAF usage and emissions reductions.

Moreover, the Registry will help airlines meet regulations such as the Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, ensuring compliance with SAF mandates and providing transparency to authorities regarding emissions reductions. The SAF Registry will enforce agreed-upon accounting and reporting principles. These principles align with international protocols and industry best practices. It safeguards against double counting and double claiming, ensuring accurate tracking of SAF usage and emissions reductions. The immutability and integrity of all interventions recorded in the Registry are paramount.

Victor Shalton


  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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