Online charter marketplace Victor has joined forces with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) producer Neste to bolster the uptake of renewable fuels within the aviation industry. They also aim to help the sector reach its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Starting today, any charter booking made through the Victor platform will include the option to purchase SAF through Neste’s MY SAF program. “At checkout during the booking process, all Victor members can now easily select how much fossil fuel they want to replace with MY SAF, from as little as 5 percent up to 100 percent,” said London-headquartered Victor. In its neat form, Neste’s SAF reduces life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent versus jet-A.
The company stressed that the SAF purchased through its platform will not directly be used on the booked flight, instead, it will be used in the fleet of one of Neste’s partner airlines. “We call it a ‘pay here, use there’ solution,” explained Victor co-chief executive Toby Edwards. “It is the first [strategy] to offer SAF for every charter flight regardless of operator or departure airport.”
He said it will take time for SAF to become available across the global business aviation network, as the industry is fragmented. “While we build this demand, our member’s SAF contribution will ensure the aviation sector benefits from a carbon emission reduction,” Edwards noted.
Each Victor booking receipt will itemize how much SAF has been purchased by the customer. The fuel will be delivered to the partner airline once the business aircraft flight is complete. A document detailing how each SAF purchase has contributed to CO2 emission reduction will then be issued by Neste for the Victor customer to record.
“We are confident that by displaying the clear benefit and easy order process, members will purchase SAF, despite it being typically around 20 percent more expensive than jet fuel, based on current prices,” said Edwards.
This program is also “aligned with science-based targets, unlike some carbon offset programs of the past where you are not sure where your contribution ends up”, he said.
Edwards believes an “urgent and rapid scaling-up of SAF” is essential if the aviation industry is to achieve its net-zero goals. “The aviation industry has set its sights on increasing the share of SAF to 10 percent of all jet fuel use by 2030, but currently only 0.1 percent of flights are fueled with this mixture. We have a long way to go,” he explained.
In 2021, there were more than 800,000 private flights alone worldwide from almost 4,000 airports. “The Victor platform accounted for 3,600 trips last year, which we calculate emitted over 27,900 tonnes of carbon combined,” said Edwards. “We are on track for another strong year in 2022, with the summer months set to be the busiest on record. It is vital that we promote the benefits of sustainable travel.”
While the cost and availability of SAF are considerable barriers for some business aircraft users, Edwards is confident there is a “significant cohort that can afford it and are receptive to buying it.” His optimism is triggered by a partnership between Victor and German Piaggio Avanti Evo operator AirGo. Edwards said when its members were given the option to book AirGo's turboprop twins on the platform fueled with an SAF blend, uptake was 100 percent.
“All members who booked with AirGo chose to pay more for an SAF-fueled flight, so we know how important the environment is to many of them,” said Edwards. This option was limited to one operator, he conceded, “so we needed to create a better partnership that reached all members.”
Helsinki, Finland-headquartered Neste describes the partnership with Victor as “an industry-leading blueprint” for the aviation sector as it strives for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. “We hope other companies will follow,” the company added, “as SAF is essential to reaching this goal.”