In a strategic move aimed at enhancing sustainability in the aviation sector, GMR Airports, in partnership with Groupe ADP, has announced a groundbreaking collaboration with aerospace giants Safran and Airbus to advance the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in India. Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of Delhi International Airport, a subsidiary of GMR Airports, shared exclusive insights about the new development.
India currently holds the third position in the global domestic aviation market, projecting an annual growth rate of approximately 9%. The surge in air passenger numbers and aircraft movements has prompted both the government and private sector to prioritize SAF as a key element in meeting carbon reduction targets.
SAF, renowned for its low sulphur content and reduced emissions, plays a pivotal role in the global aviation industry’s initiatives to address environmental concerns.
Jaipuriar revealed that a comprehensive study is underway to determine the optimal blending ratio of sustainable aviation fuel each year. This meticulous process includes critical considerations such as selecting the most suitable biomass feedstock for SAF production.
“Decisions on the production site, whether at the airport or the source, and the long-term blending strategy are central to this study. Similar to the current practice of ethanol blending in petrol, we need to decide whether blending should occur at the airport or at the source, such as refineries,” explained Jaipuriar.
He emphasized that Delhi International Airport’s mandate is to ensure the necessary infrastructure for SAF, setting the stage for GMR Hyderabad International Airport and GMR Goa International Airport to follow suit in Hyderabad and Goa, respectively.
This initiative gains significance in light of the Central Government’s ambitious plan to mandate a 1% blending of SAF with traditional jet fuel by 2025, requiring an estimated 140 million litres of SAF per year. Furthermore, a 5% SAF blend would demand approximately 700 million litres annually.
The push for local SAF production aligns with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). Indian airlines are expected to offset carbon emissions from international operations by 2027, marking the final phase of CORSIA’s implementation, which operates in three phases, with the first two being voluntary and extending until 2026.