International Airlines Group (IAG) the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling carriers, and Microsoft have signed an agreement for the largest co-funded sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) purchase, 14,700T, from Phillips 66.

This partnership follows previous investments of $865m in SAF purchases by IAG since the end of 2022, connecting to their targets of reaching 10% SAF fuel use in all fuel needs by 2030.

This agreement aligns with Microsoft’s goals of reducing business travel and air freight emissions, which will simultaneously reduce its Scope 3 emissions.

Julia Fidler, environmental sustainability fuel and materials decarbonisation lead at Microsoft, highlighted how this partnership allows the company to recognise and reduce its carbon footprint. “Reducing emissions from aviation through decarbonisation efforts such as this, whilst recognising the societal and economic benefits of flying, requires increased commitment from all stakeholders.

“This agreement represents a new milestone in SAF purchasing that will allow Microsoft to address emissions from both our business travel and freight for our cloud supply chain while helping to fund future SAF development and scale the market as a whole.”

According to IAG, the fuel amount purchased in the agreement is enough to fuel approximately 300 British Airways 787 flights from the UK to the US.

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IAG has been collaborating with the aviation sector on a push to increase government policy support for SAF manufacturing.

30 SAF plants may be developed across the UK and Europe over the next eight years with the proper governmental backing, reducing seven million tonnes of CO₂ annually by 2030.

IAG head of sustainability Jonathon Counsell said: “The development of SAF is critical for the long-term decarbonisation of our industry.

“Strong commercial partnerships like this will help stimulate the global investment needed to build and sustain a commercially viable SAF market. We are pleased to see high-profile organisations like Microsoft leading the way.”

IAG has previous involvement in supply agreements such as Nova Pangaea’s waste-to-fuel production facility in the UK which uses ‘innovative’ technology to convert agricultural waste.

The SAF purchased, which is set to be certified by International Sustainability & Carbon Certification, will be supplied to IAG airlines including British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling in 2023.