South Korea’s largest airline Korean Air has launched a new sustainable programme to encourage its air cargo customers to pay more towards the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The Korean Air Cargo SAF programme will allow customers and forwarders to make a customised contribution to “reduce their carbon footprint”, which will then be used by the airline to buy additional SAF and communicate with customers about their carbon emissions reduction. 

Jaedong Eum, senior vice-president and head of Korean Air’s cargo business division, said: “We’re pleased to work together with our clients to reduce carbon emissions from cargo operations through the SAF programme. Korean Air is committed to sustainable development with our next generation in mind.” 

According to Korean Air, the programme continues its action at the “forefront” of paving the foundation for SAF use in Korea, including its role in the government’s eco-friendly biofuel activation alliance since October.

SAF has become one of the aviation industry’s main focuses in the fight to create more sustainable practices for a historically high-polluting industry, with IATA saying that it expects the fuel to account for 65% of the carbon reductions needed to reach net zero by 2050.

The push towards biofuel has seen significant investment from companies such as Google and Shell, International Airlines Group, Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic, which is expected to run the first transatlantic SAF flight in November.

For its part, Korean Air said it will continue to work with stakeholders to review both domestic and international demonstrations of the fuel to increase its production and use by the industry.