IAG has pledged to power 10% of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030, a goal that it says will allow it to cut its annual CO2 emissions by two million tonnes.

The airline group plans to achieve this by purchasing one million tonnes of SAF annually, with the carbon saving equating to removing one million cars from the roads.

In addition, IAG is extending its net zero 2050 commitment throughout its supply chain.

“For more than a decade, IAG has led the airline industry’s actions to reduce its carbon footprint. It’s clearly challenging to transition to a low carbon business model but, despite the current pandemic, we remain resolute in our climate commitments”, comments Luis Gallego, IAG´s chief executive.

“Government support is critical to meet this target by attracting investment to construct sustainable aviation fuel plants that will deliver enough supply for the airline industry, creating highly valued green jobs and economic growth at global scale,” he adds.

The announcement follows the UK government’s publication this week of ambitious climate change targets that envisage a reduction in CO2 equivalent of 78% by 2035.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps states that IAG’s commitment “is clear evidence of the progress we are making”, and adds: “These kinds of initiatives, along with our work through the Jet Zero Council, will help us rapidly accelerate towards our net zero targets as we build back better out of the pandemic.”

In recent years IAG has been working with partners LanzaJet and Velocys to develop SAF from household waste, investing $400 million into the process. The company says that “with the right policies in place”, 14 SAF plants could be built around the UK, creating 6,500 jobs and saving 3.6 million tonnes of carbon annually.

Sustainable jet fuel produces at least 70% less carbon emissions than fossil fuels.

IAG subsidrary British Airways will also purchase sustainable jet fuel from LanzaJet’s US plant to power some of its flights from late 2022.