British Airways partners with Learning Rose to offer Visual Guide for autism-friendly flying

British Airways has announced a new partnership with Learning Rose, an organisation that creates support material for individuals with autism, in recognition of World Autism Acceptance Week.

As part of this partnership, British Airways has become the first airline in the UK to produce a Visual Guide to Flying, which has been endorsed by the National Autistic Society.

First: British Airways becomes the first airline in the UK to launch a visual guide to flying

The guide can be downloaded from the airline’s website, and it uses simple icons and text to describe different parts of the flying experience to help customers with autism prepare for their journey and feel comfortable during their flight.

The Visual Guide is just the first initiative of the partnership, and it is accompanied by British Airways staff training and support, as well as bespoke staff consultation sessions, to ensure that the airline’s staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide the best possible service to customers with autism.

British Airways has a dedicated customer care team that customers can liaise with to discuss and arrange appropriate assistance for each individual, whether that be assistance through the airport and on board, pre-allocation of seats, or updating a booking to ensure cabin and ground crew are aware of any support that customers may require.

Rebecca Taylor, founder of Learning Rose and a former British Airways cabin crew member whose son has autism, is proud to partner with British Airways to help ease travel anxieties that people with autism may face.

She said,

I know from both my experience working as cabin crew and from travelling with my son that flying can sometimes be overwhelming for people with autism, so I am delighted to be working with British Airways to help ease any travel anxieties that people with autism may face.

British Airways was the first UK airline to be awarded the renowned Autism Friendly Award by the National Autistic Society, and the first formally to recognise the sunflower lanyard scheme, partnering with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.

Calum Laming, Chief Customer Officer at British Airways said,

At British Airways we welcome more than half a million customers who require special assistance each year and we’re fully committed to making sure our service is accessible to all. We’re always looking for ways to improve the experience for customers with visible and non-visible disabilities. Our partnership with Learning Rose is just one of the many initiatives we have in place to make flying as stress-free as possible and we’re looking forward to further strengthening and enhancing our partnership going forward.

There are dedicated check-in areas at London Heathrow Airport for those requiring additional assistance, and customers have the option to add any requirements to their booking in advance of traveling through the ‘Manage My Booking’ tool on

As a UK-based business traveller, if you or someone you know has autism and will be traveling with British Airways, this new partnership with Learning Rose could be very helpful. The Visual Guide to Flying, endorsed by the National Autistic Society, provides a simple and easy-to-use guide to help customers with autism prepare for their journey and feel comfortable during their flight. In addition, the airline’s dedicated customer care team can assist with arranging appropriate assistance for each individual, whether that be assistance through the airport and on board, pre-allocation of seats, or updating a booking to ensure cabin and ground crew are aware of any support that customers may require.

British Airways’ commitment to making its service accessible to all, as well as its recognition by the National Autistic Society, demonstrates its dedication to providing a comfortable and stress-free travel experience for all of its customers.

British Airways offers the ‘best of British’ bubbles in Club World with award-winning English Sparkling wines

British Airways is celebrating British provenance by introducing four local wine producers from across England into their Club World cabin for the first time.

The airline’s Master of Wine has carefully selected the four English Sparkling wine options, which will be available on a rotational basis every three months, giving customers the opportunity to sample the ‘best of British’ bubbles during their flights.

Bubbles: BA passengers gain a wider choice of sparkling wines in Club World

Travellers in the Club World cabin can now enjoy a range of exclusive English Sparkling wines during their flight, previously only available in the airline’s First cabin. The airline is working with some of the best wine producers across England, to bring customers the best possible selection of English Sparkling wines.

The airline’s Master of Wine has selected four English Sparkling wines to be available on a rotational basis, changing every three months. Customers can now choose from two sparkling options when travelling in Club World, including the current Champagne resident Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Silver Top Non-Vintage Champagne, and now an exclusive English Sparkling wine option.

British Airways is introducing a variety of exclusive English Sparkling wines for its Club World passengers, starting with Digby Fine English Brut NV, which has over three years’ maturation, giving it great complexity and finesse for customers to savour. Later in the year, passengers can enjoy Simpsons Chalklands Cuvee Brut NV from Kent and Wiston Estate Brut NV from the South Downs.

British Airways’ Director of Onboard Experience, Sajida Ismail, said,

We’re really proud to work with four of the very best wine producers across England to celebrate British provenance and bring exclusive sparkling options for customers to try for themselves on board.

British Provenance: Business travellers can now enjoy award-winning English Sparkling wines on board British Airways’ Club World cabin

Over the last few years, English sparkling wines have been gaining popularity worldwide and have received numerous international awards for their quality.

The unique combination of chalky soil, cooler climate, and expertise of English winemakers has resulted in wines that can compete with some of the best Champagne and sparkling wines from around the world.

As a result, more and more wine enthusiasts are turning to English sparkling wines as a premium choice, making them an exciting addition to British Airways’ Club World menu.

In addition to the English Sparkling wine selection, British Airways is launching Whispering Angel Provence Rosé and The Pale, curated from the same Château d’Esclans vineyards, for customers to enjoy across its lounges at London Heathrow and London Gatwick.

The airline continues to spotlight destinations through its premium wine selection, celebrating different destinations in its network each quarter.

In April, the airline will spotlight wines from the regions surrounding the city of Porto, Portugal, in its Club World and First cabins.

‘How do you say “bottle of water”?’ and other important questions

Americans have always been curious about British culture, but how well do Americans truly know the British?

British Airways and VisitBritain have joined forces in a new campaign that gives an insider’s view on modern Britain, with all its vibrancy and warmth, to inspire US visitors to book their next visit.

The campaign ‘Ask Britain Anything’, created with Uncommon Creative Studio, takes a deep dive into 50 of Americans’ most-searched online questions about the UK and puts these directly to British people to respond.

Some of the most-searched questions by Americans included: 

  • What are British people like?
  • Why do British people like queuing?
  • Why travel to Britain?
  • What do British people eat for breakfast?
  • Is all British food beige?
  • What do British people mean when they say ‘hello love’?

The new campaign, which launches this week across the United States via television and social media, sees British Airways’ staff alongside people from across Britain answer some of these ‘burning’ questions.

Behind the campaign’s humour is a ‘bird’s-eye’ view of modern British society, with its unique people, cultures and quirks that make Britain such a special place to live and visit.

British Airways Inflight Manager Jason Consiglio, who took part in the campaign said,

The most surprising question was about British food being beige. I’ve been debating it among my friends ever since! Answering these questions gave me a chance to recognize how much I love being British, and the confidence to say how great we really are. We’re a beautiful country that champions traditions, cultures and people. I could not be happier to represent Britain, and British Airways, in this campaign.

British Airways Director of Marketing Hamish McVey said,

Everyone knows about Britain’s vibrant cities, historical sites and beautiful landscapes. But there is a curiosity around British culture – now more than ever. We’re incredibly proud of this campaign, which dispels the stereotypes, sheds light on who we truly are and why you should visit to get to know us better. And what better place to immerse yourself in the British spirit than on a British Airways flight.

VisitBritain Executive VP for The Americas, Australia and New Zealand Paul Gauger said,

We are delighted to launch this fun and engaging campaign, inviting our visitors to ‘Ask Britain Anything’ and extending a warm welcome to the US, Britain’s largest and most valuable inbound visitor market. By telling the story of our dynamic destinations and diverse culture, we’re inspiring visitors from the US to explore further, stay longer and discover the new and surprising experiences to be had in Britain all year-round.

The campaign includes a series of 12 unique and original films. More than 70 individuals were interviewed to take part in the series from across the UK’s nations and regions.

The cast included a Welsh rapper, an NHS neurosurgeon, Liverpudlian firefighters and a Scottish astrologer, to name a few, as well as British Airways colleagues.

British Airways’ plane v boat Red Nose Day challenge

British Airways has raised an incredible £27.3 million for Flying Start, through the airline’s global charity partnership with Comic Relief. The money has been raised over the past 13 years, since the partnership’s launch in 2010.

To celebrate this ‘oarsome’ milestone, British Airways teamed up with Comic Relief celebrity supporters Alison Hammond, Rylan and Sir Steve Redgrave to find out if one of its aircraft could beat the GB Rowing team in a race next to London City Airport.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave brought together medal-winning members of the GB Rowing Team to take on the challenge.

The World Champions and Olympians in the mixed eight boat comprised a cox, four female and four male rowers, who took on a British Airways Cityflyer Embraer 190 Aircraft.

The race took place at London City Airport, next to the Royal Albert Docks with the runway running parallel to the water where many Olympic and World Champion rowers train.

Sir Steve Redgrave, an honorary trustee of Comic Relief and five-time Olympic gold medal rowing champion, said,

As a trustee for Comic Relief, it’s so fantastic to combine my passion for rowing with a cause so close to my heart. I trained at these docks for many years, so I know them well, but seeing a challenge like this was certainly a first for me. It was a lot of fun and a privilege to be a part of – I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to help raise awareness for British Airways’ Flying Start charity partnership, that has helped millions of individuals worldwide with its fundraising.

Mary Brew, British Airways Community Investment Manager said,

We’re so proud to have reached the 13th year of our long-standing partnership with Comic Relief. It’s the generous donations of our customers and the fundraising efforts of our colleagues that has helped us reach another milestone this Red Nose Day.

Funds raised through the Flying Start partnership support projects both in the UK and around the world in destinations that British Airways flies to. Examples include Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland which provides tailored support to families with children affected by spina bifida and /or hydrocephalus, and Butterflies in New Delhi, which works with children living or working on the streets to give them life skills to prosper. Butterflies has supported an estimated 2,250 children in New Delhi over the last two years.

Visit or follow @ComicRelief on social media for the latest Red Nose Day content, news and information. 

British Airways and American Airlines open Bridge Bar at JFK T8 lounge

British Airways and American Airlines are enhancing the newly renovated Terminal 8 at JFK airport with the unveiling of the first of its kind, Bridge Bar. 

Featuring a variety of non-alcoholic and spirited cocktails, including Aviation American Gin and Betty Buzz, the premium bar will be part of the Greenwich Lounge experience, within the joint premium Lounges offered by the two airline partners.

Aviation American Gin infuses a blend of botanicals and is fronted by actor Ryan Reynolds; and Betty Buzz, a range of non-alcoholic sparkling mixers founded by actress Blake Lively. 

The new Bridge Bar is designed to celebrate the love of flying and offers customers a place to relax pre-flight, while enjoying delicious cocktails and mocktails.

Betty Buzz prides itself on using clean ingredients like real juice and no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners. Menu creations include drinks featuring one of five Betty Buzz flavors such as the tasty ‘Blushing Betty’ and the sparkling ‘Adventure Awaits’.

Customers can also enjoy a range of non-alcoholic or spirited Aviation American Gin cocktail creations at their leisure.

Betty Buzz Founder Blake Lively said,

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the entire British Airways and American Airlines crew, as we celebrate the opening of this beautiful new lounge.

Calum Laming, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer, said:

Following our recent investment in our new JFK lounges – Chelsea and Soho – we are excited to unveil a new experience in the Greenwich LoungeT. With Betty Buzz and Aviation American Gin, we have created the perfect space for customers to relax pre-flight, offering a varied and delicious cocktail selection and flavours to suit every taste.

The guest journey through the Greenwich LoungeT experience culminates in the Bridge Bar’s open space that transports select customers to the Golden Age of Travel. The space has been created to offer a rich and sophisticated take on mid-century modern design with a classic 1960’s feel.

Kim Cisek, Vice President of Customer Experience at American Airlines said,

We understand travellers are looking for a customised travel experience that starts on the ground and our joint premium lounges with British Airways give our customers the opportunity to do so. The opening of the Bridge Bar and Tasting Room is the latest piece of our premium lounge experience at JFK.

The Greenwich Lounge experience is part of the American Airlines and British Airways joint premium Lounges at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Terminal 8.

JFK Terminal 8 Greenwich Lounge Tasting Room

The lounge now also features the new Tasting Room, formerly known as the Flagship First Dining space. 

It features a soft refresh featuring a high-end tap room, making visitors feel like they are inside a beer tavern.

Brooklyn Brewery, the Brooklyn-based leading global independent craft brewer and a pioneer of the American craft beer revolution is the first brand featured in the space.

Customers can relax and sip on an array of Brooklyn Brewery products, including beers on draft, and beer flights ahead of their travels.

A lighter fare menu is also available to enjoy with their beer pairings including Beer Braised Bratwurst, French Onion Grilled Cheese, and a Beer Float dessert.

The Greenwich Lounge experience is accessible to British Airways Club customers, American Airlines customers traveling on Flagship Business and AAdvantage members with AAdvantage Platinum status who are traveling on Flagship Long Haul International itineraries, and oneworld Sapphire and oneworld Business Class customers.

British Airways brings romance to the skies for Valentine’s Day

British Airways is sharing the love with its customers this Valentine’s Day with a range of special touches including seasonal desserts, a dedicated ‘Love is in the air’ in-flight entertainment channel and sweet treats in its lounges.

To celebrate the ‘month of love’, the airline’s culinary experts have created a bespoke Valentine’s Day afternoon tea for those travelling in First. The indulgent afternoon tea comprises a range of finger sandwiches, a chocolate orange Battenberg, raspberry tart and a chocolate love heart cookie. To accompany the sweet treats, customers can select from the Warre’s Colheita 2009 Tawny Port or the Sauternes, both carefully selected by the airline’s Master of Wine. 

For those travelling in Club World, the airline has lovingly created a chocolate mousse dessert and a raspberry and rosewater Valentine’s macaroon as part of the afternoon tea in Club Europe. For customers wishing to pair these sweet treats with a tipple, the airline recommends Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Ruby Port.

To help customers get in the romantic mood this February, British Airways has also launched a dedicated ‘Love is in the air’ in-flight entertainment channel available in every cabin. Customers looking to enjoy a date night for one in the air can settle in and select from a range of romantic classics and bingeworthy boxsets such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, You’ve Got Mail and The Mating Game.

Elsewhere, the airline’s customers travelling through its lounges on 14 February can also enjoy some Valentine’s Day treats and floral decor. In British Airways’ Galleries and First lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5, customers can enjoy Whispering Angel, Baileys’ popular Strawberries and Cream liqueur and a selection of luxury chocolates before they head off for their flight.

Calum Laming, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer, said:

Whether our customers are heading off on a romantic break, a half-term family getaway or a solo adventure for one, we know that every journey is original and indeed special. We hope these little gestures go a long way in showing our appreciation and make our customers feel more loved than ever this Valentine’s month.

British Airways unveils its new uniforms, designed by Ozwald Boateng

British Airways has unveiled a new uniform to ‘take the airline into its next chapter’.

The collection of garments, created by British fashion designer and tailor Ozwald Boateng OBE, will be worn by more than 30,000 of the airline’s colleagues from Spring 2023.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

Our uniform is an iconic representation of our brand, something that will carry us into our future, representing the very best of modern Britain and helping us deliver a great British original service for our customers. From the very start this has been about our people. We wanted to create a uniform collection that our people are proud to wear and with the help of over 1,500 colleagues, we are confident that we have delivered this.

The collection features a tailored three-piece suit for men with regular and slim fit style trousers and dress, skirt and trouser options for women, as well as a modern jumpsuit – which is a British Airways first. A tunic and hijab option has also been created for the global carrier.

Boateng took great care in designing a truly original collection, taking inspiration from the airline, its people of the art of flying.  The airwave pattern that features across the entire uniform collection including jackets, t-shirts, buttons and ties was inspired by the movement of air over an aircraft wing. The jacquard fabric across all of the tailored garments features a variation of the airline’s iconic speedmarque.

Boateng has been developing the collection since 2018 with painstaking care.
He shadowed a number of airport roles to understand how the uniform needed to perform for each job and ensure a modern British, stylish look with high quality, resilient fabrics that are easy to care for.

More than 1,500 British Airways employees across the airline took part in 50 workshops to help ensure the garments suitability, from design workshops to prototype feedback and garment trials, helping create an iconic collection that will stand the test of time.

To make sure that each garment is fit for purpose, the airline has been putting the uniform to the test over the last six months in secret trials.

Cabin and flight crew uniforms have been put through their paces on cargo flights across Europe while engineers have been secretly wearing the new uniforms while maintaining aircraft out of sight in Manchester and Cotswold Airports. Many of the outdoor garments have also been tested in deluge showers and freezers at -18 degrees Celsius to ensure they’re water resistant, durable and fit for extreme weather conditions.

During the trials colleagues gave feedback on the practicability of the garments, resulting in amendments ahead of the rollout. For example, engineers requested easy access tool pockets for when they’re working on aircraft, while ground handlers asked for touch-screen technology fabric in their gloves so they can use their devices in cold climates without having to take them off.

Born in London to Ghanaian parents, Ozwald Boateng’s talent for flare and design came very early. After dropping out of the computing course he was studying at the time he enrolled into Southgate College to study fashion.
Recognising that the signs for his future career had been around him all along, and working from his mother’s sewing machine, he created his first collection which he sold to menswear fashion store Sprint in London’s Covent Garden in the late 80s.

Ozwald Boateng OBE, British, Ghanaian changemaker, fashion designer and master tailor, said:

Designing this uniform was a vast and painstaking undertaking and it went far beyond clothes. It was about creating an energetic shift internally. One of my main objectives was to create something that spoke to, and for, the airline’s colleagues. Something that inspired and empowered them, encouraged them to conduct their roles with pride and most importantly to ensure that they felt seen and heard. Although the airline has a strong heritage, it was imperative to support in creating a fresh narrative of change and transcendence, while remaining timeliness.

Emma Carey, British Airways’ cabin crew, who was one of the colleagues who carried out secret trials of the uniform, said:

It’s been a real honour and responsibility to help test the new uniform and put it through its paces at 35,000ft to make sure it’s fit for purpose, with thousands of my colleagues counting on me. It was great to see that adjustments were made after our feedback. The pockets on the apron, for example, were widened after the trial so we had more room for everything we need during meal services on board. 

I can’t wait for our customers to see the new collection.

Sustainability and quality have been front and centre throughout the uniform design process. More than 90% of the garments are produced using sustainable fabric from blends of recycled polyester.

As part of British Airways’ BA Better World commitment to work with sustainable suppliers, the airline is only working with manufacturers that are members of the ‘Better Cotton’ initiative, the world’s leading sustainability initiative for cotton, whose mission is to help cotton communities survive and thrive, while protecting and restoring the environment. 

The airline’s engineers and ground operations agents will be first to wear the new uniform from Spring 2023. All British Airways’ cabin crew, pilots and check-in agents will have a switch over date from their current uniform to the new one in Summer 2023. As they pick up their new items of uniform, they’ll hand in their Julien MacDonald garments, which will be donated to charity or recycled to create toys, tablet holders and more, with a number of items gifted to the airline’s museum.

British Airways appoints full time Master of Wine

British Airways has appointed a full-time Master of Wine, Tim Jackson MW, to elevate the premium experience for its customers both on the ground and in the air.

British Airways’ Master of Wine will play a vital role in selecting and tasting potential new wines, curating menu descriptions, developing the airline’s wider drinks strategy and sourcing a diverse range of wines from across the globe for customers to enjoy. 

Tim Jackson MW is one of 415 Masters of Wine in the world today.

As well as carefully selecting fine wines and sparkling options, the Master of Wine will also lead the selection of the airline’s drinks portfolio across its lounges and on board.  This includes championing the best of British beers, promoting classic gins and rolling out innovative non-alcoholic alternatives. A large part of the role will also include a sustained focus on taking into consideration differences in flavours, as well as taste and structure changes of beverages at altitude.

Sajida Ismail, Director of Onboard Experience at British Airways, said,

We are really excited to have Tim at British Airways. His knowledge and expertise play an integral role in our efforts to continue to deliver the premium experience that our customers look for when they fly with us and offer products that our colleagues are proud to serve. Going forward, we also have lots of exciting plans that will champion new drink offerings and celebrate the global network that we fly to.

Tim Jackson, British Airways’ Master of Wine said:

I’m delighted to be the first person to take this position at British Airways. As an avid traveller, I have sampled wine from all corners of the globe, ranging from California to Chile, so I hope my love for travel, together with my experience and knowledge of beverages, will make a positive difference to the premium experience we offer our customers.

Tim has already introduced new Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines in the airline’s premium cabins, including Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc in First and Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc in Club World, both from Marlborough, New Zealand.

In First, the airline has rolled out a special Bordeaux selection for the festive season, celebrating the 2010 vintage from both sides of Bordeaux comprising Château Haut-Batailley and Clos de l’Oratoire. Customers can enjoy either of these wines in December.

From January 2023, British Airways will also be introducing a wine-selection strategy in First and Club World, showcasing different destinations across the airline’s network that produce premium wines. The airline will spotlight one destination at a time, to celebrate where the wines come from and the global network that the airline flies to. This builds on British Airways’ continued plans to bring a wide range of wines from around the world for its customers to enjoy in the comfort of their seat.

Cape Town in South Africa will be the airline’s first focus, with new wine offerings including Radford Dale’s Renaissance Chenin Blanc from old vines in Stellenbosch, as well as Andrea and Chris Mullineux’s benchmark Swartland Syrah from South Africa’s Winery of the Year.

British Airways states this appointment forms part of the airline’s wider commitment to continue to upgrade its product proposition for its customers.

British Airways implemented an improved service across its First, World Traveller Plus, World Traveller and Club Europe cabins earlier this year and recently relaunched its Club World brasserie-style dining experience, with new seasonal menus championing the best of British cuisine.

British Airways announces new direct flight from London to Cincinnati

British Airways has announced a new direct route from London Heathrow to the Cincinnati region, starting from Summer 2023.

Cincinnati will become the 27th US destination served directly from London by British Airways, which offers 300 transatlantic flights per week, the most of any UK carrier.

Starting on 5 June 2023, this will be the only direct flight between the UK and all of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, creating incredible new opportunities across both sides of the pond. The flight will operate five times per week in the summer season and four in the winter.

Resting along the banks of the Ohio River, the Cincinnati region spans portions of three states – Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Affectionately nicknamed Cincy or the Queen City, the area is home to world-class museums, more than 50 breweries, the USA’s largest Oktoberfest, three major sports teams spanning American football, basketball and football, and the Krohn Conservatory, an Art Deco greenhouse featuring 3,500 plant species from all over the world.

It’s renowned for its Cincinnati Chili, handmade ice cream and beer, whilst acting as a gateway to Northern Kentucky and the famed Bourbon Trail, a playground for bourbon-lovers. In addition, Kentucky is also synonymous with gorgeous rolling hills and bluegrass music.

Neil Chernoff, Director of Networks and Alliances at British Airways, said,

This is the first time we’ve flown this route, and we can’t wait to connect two cities which both have so much to offer. Not only will this open up these destinations to customers on each side of the Atlantic, but it will also improve connectivity between the Cincinnati region, Europe and beyond, with opportunities to connect to our wider network via London.

Candace McGraw, chief executive officer of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) said:

British Airways’ nonstop service from CVG to London-Heathrow is an all-around win for the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana region. The economic impact of this transatlantic flight is exponential for business travel, economic development, and tourism between the UK and our area of the United States. We look forward to a strong partnership with our new friends across the pond for many years to come.

British Airways passengers travelling to Cincinnati will travel in comfort on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with a choice of three cabins – World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and Club World (business).

BA’s Project Speedbird moves a step closer to large-scale production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in the UK

British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea Technologies have signed an agreement that will accelerate their ground-breaking Project Speedbird initiative to develop cost-effective sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for commercial use in the UK. 

As part of the agreement, British Airways’ parent company IAG, is investing in the project to support the next phase of development work that it says “will help decarbonise the aviation industry”.

Project Speedbird was initially launched by the three companies in 2021 and was granted nearly £500,000 by the Department for Transport’s Green Fuels, Green Skies competition to fund an initial feasibility study for the early-stage development of the project. This work is now complete and so the next stage of development can begin. Once in operation, it would be the UK’s first SAF facility utilising agricultural and wood waste taken from sustainable sources.

Project Speedbird has now applied for the DfT’s Advanced Fuels Fund grant for additional funding, which will be key to the project’s continued development whilst the DfT seeks to roll out its recently announced Jet Zero strategy that includes implementing a SAF mandate to come into force in 2025, which will require at least 10% of UK jet fuel to be SAF by 2030.

Project Speedbird would transform agricultural and wood waste taken from sustainable sources into 102 million litres of SAF per year. Construction could begin as early as 2023 and the facility, which is planned to be built in the North East of England, is expected to be producing SAF by 2026.

British Airways intends to offtake all SAF produced through Project Speedbird to help power some of its flights. The SAF produced would reduce CO2 emissions, on a net lifecycle basis, by 230,000 tonnes a year. The airline claims this is is the equivalent emissions of approximately 26,000 British Airways domestic flights.

Overall, Project Speedbird has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions, British Airways claims, by up to 770,000 tonnes a year as the combined processes also produce renewable diesel and a material called biochar – a carbon-rich charcoal-like material left over after the agricultural and wood wastes have been processed. Biochar is a natural carbon removal method.

The SAF will be developed using a combination of leading-edge technologies based on Nova Pangaea’s REFNOVA® process of converting agricultural and wood waste into bioethanol and biochar. LanzaJet’s proprietary and patented alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology, the first of its kind in the world, then converts the bioethanol to produce SAF and renewable diesel.

Project Speedbird would provide significant skilled employment with the generation of hundreds of jobs and supply chain opportunities in the North East of England and help spread the benefits of investment in green technologies across the UK. It would also bolster the UK’s energy security as the facility would boost domestic production.

Sarah Ellerby, CEO at Nova Pangaea Technologies, said: 

This project will deliver the first end-to-end, sustainable value chain from agricultural and wood waste to SAF in the UK. It will undoubtedly play a very important role in the growing momentum towards decarbonising our aviation sector. The support from British Airways is a vote of huge confidence in our technology and will accelerate its commercialisation. In July, the UK Government announced its Jet Zero strategy signalling a SAF mandate of 10% of all UK flights to run on SAF by 2030. This agreement is another significant step towards meeting this mandate in the UK. Our aim is to help the UK become a global leader in the end-to-end SAF market, with consequent benefits to employment and business activity.

Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways, said: 

Project Speedbird is another great step towards our mission to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner and achieve our target of using SAF for 10% of our fuel by 2030. SAF is in high demand but in short supply across the globe and so it is essential that we scale up its production as quickly as possible. With further investment and continued government support, Speedbird will be a key and pioneering project in the production of SAF here in the UK. The biochar carbon removal opportunities are another important aspect of this impressive innovative project that can contribute to our net zero action. We are delighted to be a part of this important project, illustrating how we’re putting sustainability at the heart of our business with our BA Better World sustainability programme.

Jimmy Samartzis, CEO at LanzaJet, said:

The U.K. is a critical market in the decarbonisation of the aviation industry, and this partnership brings together the full value chain from agricultural and wood waste to finished Sustainable Aviation Fuel and use by British Airways. As the U.K. sits at an inflection point in its quest to decarbonise, Project Speedbird represents historical significance with an eye toward the future. This is about impact – on the economy, on energy security, and on climate. We appreciate the DfT’s support as we scale-up, continue to improve capital and process efficiency, and enable production and use of SAF at a time when immediate action is needed.