Iberia wants to produce SAF in the Canary Islands

Shutterstock / Lukas Wunderlich

Spanish flag carrier Iberia is working on a project to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the Canary Islands. 

The carrier, which is one of the airlines in the IAG Group, expressed its willingness to work with local companies and institutions in the Spanish archipelago in order to build an SAF plant to supply its fleet. 

This announcement was made during a meeting between the president of the autonomous region of the Canary Islands and Javier Sánchez, Iberia’s executive chairman, and Carlos Gómez, the president of Iberia Express, Iberia’s low-cost subsidiary. 

When contacted by AeroTime, an Iberia representative explained that the project is at an early stage and that there is still no specific information to share.  

Canarian President, Ángel Víctor Torres expressed willingness to subsidize the use of SAF in the islands. The European Union granted an exemption from certain taxes on kerosene for flights between the islands of the archipelago until 2030. The same exemption has been granted for flights between the islands and the Spanish mainland.  

Iberia is committed to using 10% sustainable aviation fuel across its operations by 2030. It currently has an agreement with Spanish energy giant Repsol to fuel some of its flights. Iberia’s first flight using a SAF blend took plane in 2021.  

In December 2022, Iberia also announced that it is acquiring 100,700 tons of SAF from American firm Gevo, to be delivered to San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX), where the Spanish airline operates. Flights departing the two Californian airports for Spain will fly on a 45% SAF blend (just short of the mandatory limit of 50% that engines are currently certified for). 

At the end of their meeting, the airline executives also announced that Iberia is planning to increase the capacity it deploys on routes between the Canary Islands and the Spanish mainland by 20%. 

This programed increase in capacity adds to an already ascending trend. In 2022, Iberia carried 2.4 million passengers on these routes and for the summer season of 2023 alone, it has scheduled 1.8 million seats, 21% more than it did before the pandemic. 

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