Korean Air to Use Shell’s SAF From 2026

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Airlines, News

Korean Air to Use Shell’s SAF From 2026


On 30 September, Korean Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shell. The agreement lasts five years and commits to purchase sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for operations out of airports in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East starting from 2026.

This is the latest of many partnerships made by Korean Air in the pursuit of reducing the airline’s impact on the environment. In February this year, the Korean flag carrier also signed an MoU with Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC), Airbus, and Air Liquide for the supply of and infrastructure for hydrogen aviation fuel. Additionally, the airline has partnered with Korea’s leading petroleum and refinery companies, Hyundai Oilbank and SK Energy to adopt carbon-neutral jet fuel and SAF.

SAF, created from cooking oil, garbage, and industrial waste gas amongst other basic materials, reduce CO2 emissions by up to eighty per-cent. SAFs are therefore predicted to play a huge role in meeting climate targets, tying the industry over while hydrogen and other technologies are refined. More examples of the role that SAFs will play in meeting climate targets can be read here looking at Singapore’s sustainable air hub and easyJet’s new focus for net zero.

Unfortunately, SAF are currently very expensive. They can cost up to four times more than traditional jet fuels and for airlines, having just survived a global pandemic, this is a significant cost to swallow.

To bring prices down, supply must go up. For SAF producers to scale up, it will take approximately $1.45 trillion of investment. Korean Air’s agreement with Shell therefore represents more than simply securing a SAF supply for themselves. It commits to Shell as a provider which will in turn help to scale up the SAF industry and bring prices down.


Article by Jess Brownlow