Korean Air partners with Hyundai Oilbank on sustainable fuel

From left: Woo Keehong, President of Korean Air and Kang Dal Ho, CEO of Hyundai Oilbank. (PHOTO: Korean Air)

Korean Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hyundai Oilbank, a leading petroleum and refinery company in Korea, regarding the manufacturing and usage of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Through the partnership, Korean Air hopes to not only counter climate change caused by the aviation industry through the use of SAF, but also help commercialise SAF and explore other business opportunities.

SAF, which is made up of grains, plants, algae and animal fats, can reduce a flight’s carbon emissions by up to 80 percent. However, commercialising this eco-friendly fuel has been very difficult due to its high price, three times higher than current aviation fuel, and the lack of manufacturing and fuelling infrastructure. Korean Air and Hyundai Oilbank will work to develop a foundation for biofuel manufacturing and its usage; explore opportunities for SAF usages in the market; raise awareness about SAF; and propose relevant policies.

While aircraft operations currently contribute to about 2-3 percent of global emissions, the growing aviation industry’s strategy to tackle climate change is critical. In 2017, Korean Air used SAF for the first time in Korea by mixing biofuel extracted from plants such as corn with jet fuel. Korean Air is also actively participating in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), as it continues to replace its fleet with eco-friendly and high-efficient aircraft. Korean Air will continue its effort to apply various carbon reduction measures to achieve carbon neutralisation.

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