Wizz Air Looking to Sustainable Air Fuels to Take Flight

Sustainability

Image by Ivan Marc / Shutterstock.com

The ultra-low-cost airline Wizz Air, which claims to be Europe’s fastest-growing and greenest airline, has announced that it aims to operate 10% of its flights using sustainable airline fuel by the end of the decade.

Wizz Air targets reducing the release of carbon dioxide per passenger kilometer by another 25% before 2030 and plans to strengthen its position as a leader in environmental sustainability in the market.

To further promote SAF, Wizz Air is contributing GBP 5 million (HUF 2.1 billion) to fund the research and production of sustainable airline fuel with its British partner, sustainable fuels developer Firefly. The airline’s financial support was recognized with the Strategic Investment of the Year Award for Europe at the 2023 SAF Investor Awards in London in February.

Yvonne Moynihan, corporate and ESG manager at Wizz Air, has told the Budapest Business Journal that policymakers should support the spread of SAF by providing incentives to fund the fuel’s production.

“Wizz Air is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, having grown from a small airline to an international pioneer of sustainable aviation and affordable travel. In addition to fleet renewal and efficient operations, sustainable jet fuel is a key element in reducing aviation’s carbon footprint,” she says.

“Our investment in Firefly, which will reduce lifecycle emissions by 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, reinforces our commitment to make the use of SAF commonplace in our operations by 2030. However, achieving our ambition will require greater SAF production and use in the aviation industry. We therefore call on policymakers to remove barriers to the widespread uptake of SAF by encouraging production, price support and promoting additional sustainable feedstocks for biofuel production,” she concludes.

Wizz says its carbon emissions decreased by 6.8% between 2022 and 2023, and it achieved the lowest average carbon dioxide per passenger kilometer in 2023 at 51.5 grams. The latter comes with a caveat, however, as the airline admits that, due to differences in the reporting period, the figures and timeframe are not fully consistent.

Environmental accolades won by Wizz include Most Sustainable Dedicated Airline at the World Finance Sustainability Awards in 2021 and 2023 and Global Sustainable Airline of the Year in the Capa Center for Aviation Awards in 2022 and 2023.

In other unconnected Hungarian aviation news, Ferenc Liszt International operator Budapest Airport announced that from June 27 onward, China Southern Airlines is launching a new scheduled route with four flights per week to Guangzhou. Flights will take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The airport says the noon take-off slot will ensure that passengers arrive in Guangzhou between 7-8 a.m. local time the following morning, giving them a wide choice of connections.

The new route means that, by the summer, there will be 17 weekly flights (and an additional 250,000 seats this year) between Budapest and various parts of China. Budapest Airport says that this will strengthen Hungary’s trade opportunities as the Guangzhou region contains some of the world’s largest IT and renewable energy research firms, as well as the headquarters of several significant investor companies in Hungary, including BYD, Huawei, ZTE, Sunwoda and Eve Energy.

“With this, we can announce our fifth Chinese destination accessible from Budapest, offering excellent connectivity to Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, and a key link for the Hungarian economy,” says Balázs Bogáts, the deputy chief commercial officer of Budapest Airport.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of April 19, 2024.

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