Kenya Airways Leads the Way with Sustainable Long-Haul Flight from Africa to Europe

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Participating in the Sustainable Flight Challenge, Kenya Airways becomes Africa’s first airline to operate a highly sustainable commercial long-haul flight using Eni’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

In a groundbreaking achievement for the African aviation industry, Kenya Airways (KQ), the national carrier of Kenya, has successfully completed the first-ever long-haul commercial flight from Africa to Europe with a strong focus on sustainability. The landmark flight, part of the second edition of the Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC) organized by SkyTeam, positions Kenya Airways as a trailblazer in sustainable aviation on the African continent.

Taking off from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Thursday, the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner, operated by Kenya Airways, embarked on a journey to Amsterdam Schiphol, fueled by a unique blend of JetA1 fuel and Eni Sustainable Mobility’s sustainable aviation fuel. This marked the first time Kenya Airways has utilized Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for a long-haul commercial flight, making a significant stride towards reducing carbon emissions and minimizing the environmental impact of air travel.

Kenya Airways has become the first African airline to fly possibly the most sustainable commercial long-haul flight from Africa to Europe

Kenya Airways partnered with Eni Sustainable Mobility, a leading SAF producer, to obtain the sustainable aviation fuel for this momentous flight. Locally, they collaborated with Flamex Petroleum Ltd for the blending of the fuel, ensuring a meticulous and sustainable preparation process.

To achieve the highest level of sustainability, Kenya Airways incorporated various initiatives throughout the flight, including thoughtful measures for guests’ travel, route planning, onboard meals, packaging, transportation, and gifts. These efforts underpin the airline’s commitment to championing innovative solutions that minimize aviation’s ecological footprint while delivering exceptional travel experiences.

Group Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Airways, Allan Kilavuka, expressed his pride in leading Africa’s aviation industry towards a greener future. Kilavuka emphasized that such achievements showcase the airline’s dedication to generating groundbreaking innovations and spearheading initiatives that mitigate aviation’s impact on the environment.

“As we reconnect and rediscover our world, we are committed to living our purpose – for our people and planet,” said Kilavuka. “We are focusing on decarbonizing the aerospace industry by adopting fleet types with reduced carbon emissions, optimizing fuel consumption through efficient routing, managing waste through recycling, and harnessing alternative energy sources such as solar power and sustainable aviation fuel.”

The successful implementation of sustainable aviation fuel on this long-haul flight not only represents a significant milestone for Kenya Airways but also generates valuable data and insights to inform policy decisions, regulatory frameworks, and industry best practices related to sustainable aviation fuel.

Kilavuka stressed the importance of collaboration within the aviation ecosystem to drive sustainable approaches and positive change within the industry. Recognizing the collective responsibility of aviation stakeholders, he highlighted the need for proactive measures and the adoption of best practices to contribute to a sustainable future.

KQ piloted the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on its NBO-AMS flight as part of The Sustainable Flight Challenge by skyteam.

Winning the 2023 Sustainability Challenge

In their bid to secure victory in the Sustainable Flight Challenge, Kenya Airways has submitted an impressive array of sustainable initiatives, covering both flight and ground operations. These include a thoughtfully curated in-flight menu, a carbon offsetting program for customers, e-mobility options for guests, implementation of a travel light policy, eco-friendly blankets made from recycled R-Pet Polyester, eco-conscious packaging for onboard meals, and waste management initiatives.

The winners of the 2023 Sustainable Flight Challenge will be recognized and celebrated at an awards ceremony scheduled for October 2023, reaffirming the commitment of all participating airlines to embrace sustainable aviation practices.

As Kenya Airways pioneers sustainable air travel in Africa, their momentous achievement serves as an inspiration to the entire aviation industry, showcasing the possibilities for reducing carbon emissions and promoting environmental stewardship. With their unwavering dedication to sustainability, Kenya Airways solidifies its position as a leading advocate for the future of green aviation in Africa and beyond.

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