The landmark deal, announced to the public on Sunday, is part of Qantas’ push to transition to sustainable jet fuels — biofuels — and position Australia as a major exporter of SAF, reports Xinhua news agency.
“This investment will help kickstart a local biofuels industry in Australia and hopefully encourage additional investment from governments and other business(es) and build more momentum for the industry as a whole,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
“Ensuring a sustainable future for our industry has become the priority for Airbus and we are taking up this challenge with partners across the world and from across all sectors,” added Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury in the joint statement.
The Qantas-Airbus partnership would last for an initial five years with the option to extend.
Qantas has committed itself to using 10 per cent SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030 and 60 per cent by 2050.
Compared to traditional jet fuel, biofuels can cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 80 per cent, and as such are a key tool as airlines seek to minimize their impact on the environment.
Joyce hoped the deal would encourage other airlines and governmental bodies to join the push.
“We’re calling on other companies and producers to come forward with their biofuel projects. In many cases, this funding will be the difference between some of these projects getting off the ground.”
The investment has come amid a raft of green initiatives since the airline committed to net zero emissions by 2050 in 2019.
They include carbon offset schemes, more efficient planes and flight paths, and a frequent flyers “Green Tier”, which gives rewards to customers based on the sustainability of their lifestyle.