India’s Tata Group airlines have entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an Indian institute to explore the development and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Air India, Air Asia India, and Vistara entered the MOU with India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP), to research, develop, and deploy SAF based on single reactor HEFA (Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids) technology, which creates fuel through the refining of vegetable oils, waste oils, and fat.


Source: Wikimedia Commons/Rishavnandi08

An A320 of Air India

Air India notes that IATA is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and that the broader Tata Group aims to be net zero by 2045.

CSIR-IIP conducts research into the hydrocarbon sector. It’s focus is the development of sustainable energy from various sources.

Separately, Air India also announced an engine sale & leaseback deal with Willis Lease Finance for 34 CFM56-5B engines installed on the carrier’s Airbus A320 family aircraft.

The deal will see Willis Lease buy 34 engines that power 13 A321s and four A320s.

Under the arrangement, Willis Lease will provide replacement and standby spare engines, as well as auxiliary power units. This, says the carrier, will help it avoid potentially costly shop visits.

“This is a very unique and landmark transaction which will enable Air India to eliminate the maintenance burden and fully de-risk itself from the maintenance cost uncertainty associated with the engines which were not covered under any “Power By The Hour” program with the OEMs,” says chief commercial officer of Air India Nipun Aggarwal.

“This transaction will allow Air India to de-risk itself operationally, improve fleet reliability, reduce cost, and optimize cash flows.”