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16 October 2013 | Paul Snell
South African Airways (SAA) and Boeing are to work together to develop a sustainable supply chain for biofuel in Africa.
The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to collaborate to develop a supply of biofuel, which comes from plants or algae, for the aviation industry. The companies claim it is a first for the continent.
Boeing already has experience developing supply chains for biofuel in other countries, including the US, China, Australia and Brazil.
“South African Airways is taking the lead in Africa on sustainable aviation fuels and, by setting a best practice example, can positively shape aviation biofuel efforts in the region,” said Ian Cruickshank, head of group environmental affairs at SAA.
“By working with Boeing's sustainable aviation biofuel team, we will apply the best global technology to meet the unique conditions of Southern Africa, diversify our energy sources and create new opportunities for the people of South Africa."
Julie Felgar, managing director of environmental strategy and integration at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, added: "Boeing and South African Airways are committed to investigating feedstocks and pathways that comply with strict sustainability guidelines and can have a positive impact on South Africa's development."
The programme will be monitored by the World Wildlife Fund – South Africa to ensure the initiative is sustainable, and doesn’t compete with other sectors for food and water resources.
There have been around 1,500 passenger flights using biofuel, which is a bend of up to 50 per cent with traditional aviation fuel. SAA has a goal of using biofuel for 50 per cent of its fuel supply by 2020.