Heathrow Airport in the UK has become the first airport in the country to allow its passengers to offset their flight’s carbon emissions by purchasing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Using the voluntary online offsetting platform of climate-tech company CHOOOSE, passengers can pick the percentage of carbon emissions they intend to offset with SAF while remaining emissions will be offset via certified global reforestation projects.

Passengers will be able to use this platform irrespective of their airline or end destination.

Heathrow Airport Carbon Strategy director Matt Gorman said: “We have a real sense of momentum behind reducing carbon emissions from flying, with airlines, airports, fuel companies, airlines, investors and Governments all coming together to tackle the problem.

“We’re delighted that from today Heathrow passengers will be able to offset their flights by purchasing SAF with our partner CHOOOSE, the more people who talk about and use SAF, the faster we’ll be able to scale-up production and cut carbon emissions from flying for good.”

Currently, SAF is expensive and only available in limited quantities, but compared to conventional jet fuel, it is claimed to cut down 70% of carbon emissions in the aviation sector.

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Green fuel is expected to play an important role in decarbonising the aviation sector in the coming decade.

Earlier this month, the UK Government unveiled its plans to implement a mandate, which requires at least 10% SAF usage by 2030.

In a statement, Heathrow Airport said: “Heathrow will continue to support the UK Government in its efforts to secure a global agreement for net-zero aviation at ICAO next year, ensuring aviation cuts its carbon emissions whilst protecting the benefits of flying for future generations.”

Currently, more than 60% of Heathrow’s airline partners are said to have committed to converting at least 10% of their fuel supply into SAF by 2030.

Meanwhile, in its recent earnings announcement, Heathrow revealed that it continues to remain loss-making, with losses since the start of the pandemic reaching £3.4bn.

Passenger traffic for the first nine months of this year stood at 10.2 million, versus 19 million during the same period of 2020.

In the three-month period ending September 2021, traffic recovered to 28%, and cargo to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, due to the easing of travel curbs.

However, the airport said that it had a ‘long road ahead’, warning that traffic may not recover completely until 2026.