Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) becomes the first African airline to use SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) provided by Eni for a long-haul flight.
KQ will be participating in the second edition of the Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC), an initiative of SkyTeam. The initiative is a friendly competition between SkyTeam member airlines.
The Boeing 787-800 (B787-8) Dreamliner, that took off recently from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol, is the first Kenya Airways flight powered also by Eni Sustainable Mobility’s sustainable aviation fuel.
For this flight, JetA1 fuel is mixed with Eni Biojet, produced in the Eni’s Livorno refinery by distilling the bio-components produced from the Gela biorefinery.
“Working with Eni Sustainable Mobility to pilot the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) puts us on the first pathway to testing the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel within Africa. The data and insights generated from the pilot flight will be valuable to inform policy decisions, regulatory frameworks, and industry best practices related to SAF. This will be a significant milestone for Kenya Airways and the broader African aviation industry” states Allan Kilavuka, CEO of Kenya Airways.
Eni Biojet contains 100% biogenic feedstock and is suitable for use with up to 50% of JetA1 fuel. For this flight it was mixed with conventional jet fuel by Kenya Airways in Nairobi. KQ is working together with Eni to use sustainable aviation fuel for its flights out of the country: the SAF-fuelled Nairobi-Amsterdam flight allows KQ to gain a competitive advantage in the continent.
“The supply of Eni Biojet to Nairobi Airport is an important step for Eni Sustainable Mobility because it confirms that the company can support airlines such as Kenya Airways in their path towards decarbonisation” says Stefano Ballista, CEO Eni Sustainable Mobility.
From 2025, all aircraft departing from European airports will be required to incorporate a proportion of SAF. As a result, KQ is positioning itself to take advantage of sustainable aviation fuel momentum in accordance with the direction indicated by the European Union with the ReFuelEU Aviation regulation that sets the targets for mixing traditional fuels with increased amounts of more sustainable fuels.
Eni already markets an aviation fuel containing a 20% biogenic component, JetA1+Eni Biojet. The company has also signed agreements with national and international airlines as well as airports and logistics operators in order to supply it. As of 2024, the Venice and Gela biorefineries will begin production of Eni Biojet from renewable raw materials: it is expected to exceed 200,000 tonnes per year.
This target requires a significant supply of raw materials, for which Eni is also active in developing a supply chain in Kenya to collect UCOs (Used Cooking Oil) by working with companies and operators in the food sector, contributing to managing food waste as part of a circular economy, as well as a network of agri-hubs in Kenya and other African countries to produce vegetable oils from marginal lands not in competition with food chain.
Eni Sustainable Mobility and Kenya Airways are working on a broader agreement for long-term collaboration.