Skip to main content

Our Flightpath to Net Zero

We have a quantified roadmap to achieving Net Zero emissions in the short, medium and long-term, relative to our 2019 baseline. We call it our Flightpath to Net Zero.

2019 Emissions Baseline Inventory
All emissions stated in tonnes of CO2e

Scope 1 & 2

  • Fuel

    19,009,662

  • Location Based Electricity

    46,815

  • Market Based Electricity

    13,782

Scope 3

  • Purchased goods & services – water

    381

  • Capital goods - aircraft manufacture & disposal

    232,000

  • Fuel and energy-related production

    3,942,439

  • Waste generated in operations

    1,509

  • Business travel - flights on non-IAG carriers

    108

  • Employee commuting

    10,445

  • Downstream transportation & distribution

    223,773

  • Franchises

    379,207

Our Flightpath to Net Zero strategy, shown below, illustrates how we’ll deliver on our commitment through a combination of aircraft and operational efficiencies, investments in new technology, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and carbon removals. We made good progress in each of these areas in 2023 but acknowledge that much more work is needed to realise our goal.

  • More

    If no improvements are made to efficiency, then aviation’s carbon emissions would grow over time as demand for air travel increases.

  • More

    By investing in new aircraft and in time, introducing new low and zero-emissions aircraft, we’ll deliver around a third of our emissions reductions by 2050. We’re also driving operational efficiency by improving how we plan, prepare and operate our flights.

  • More

    A further third of emissions reductions will come from switching to sustainable aviation fuel, meeting about 50% of our fuel needs by 2050, and potentially up to 70% with appropriate policy support.

  • More

    The final third will come from robust carbon reductions and removals in other sectors.

  • More

    We’re also working to empower our customers to make more informed travel choices, which could mean that together, we could reach our destination sooner.

  • More

We’re working to deliver these important aspects today, for all our short-, medium- and long-term solutions, so we can achieve our Flightpath to Net Zero goal in the future.

We know we have a long way to go, but over the coming years, we’ll increase the amount of SAF we use and work across the business to drive operational efficiencies in pursuit of our near-term goals.

We’ll report our progress in these areas, keeping our plans under constant review to ensure we aim higher and move faster wherever new innovations allow.

  • 86gCO2/pkm

    emissions intensity by 2025

  • 10%

    SAF by 2030

2023 Progress

In 2023, we continued to manage our carbon emissions and energy use across our value chain, through multiple initiatives, including sustainability training for our pilots and introducing new more efficient aircraft.

Our Scope 1 emissions intensity decreased by 3.3% versus 2022 but emissions rose in absolute terms resulting from an increase in business activity as part of our operational recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic. We are committed to reaching Net Zero by 2050 or sooner, and in 2024, we will continue to mobilise our colleagues, drive innovation, and collaborate with key partners to further reduce our carbon emissions intensity and improve our environmental performance.

Emissions intensity over time

2023 Emissions
All emissions stated in tonnes of CO2e

% change against the 2019 baseline

Scope 1 & 2

  • Fuel

    14,987,231.51

    -21%

  • Location Based Electricity

    32,709.00

    -30%

  • Market Based Electricity

    11,398.80

    -17%

Scope 3

  • Purchased goods & services – water

    59

    -85%

  • Capital goods - aircraft manufacture & disposal

    -

  • Fuel and energy-related production

    3,159,880

    -20%

  • Waste generated in operations

    1,421

    -6%

  • Business travel - flights on non-IAG carriers

    297

    175%

  • Employee commuting

    7,315

    -30%

  • Downstream transportation & distribution

    164,284

    -27%

  • Upstream transportation & distribution

    4,208

  • Franchises

    5,231

    -99%

Aircraft Modernisation and Fuel Efficiency

The carbon intensity of our operations is influenced by several factors including the aircraft type flown, the weight of the aircraft and passenger and cargo load factors and operational efficiency procedures. Today, our newest aircraft are up to 35% more efficient than the ones they replace.

Icon of Plane

In 2023, we retired five of our oldest 777’s and received the delivery of:

  • 4

    A350-1000s

  • 2

    787-10s

  • 1

    A320 Neo

  • 3

    A321 Neos

At the end of 2023, our flight inventory was…

  • 37

    787s

  • 109

    A320 family

  • 33

    A320 family (Neos)

  • 17

    A350s

  • 12

    A380s

  • 59

    777s

Operational efficiency initiatives

Following the 2023 aircraft movements, our average fleet age is 14.1 years. We’re working to increase operational efficiency through initiatives such as improved flight paths via live wind updates and updating alternate destination airports. In 2023, we saved 18,900 tonnes of in-flight carbon emissions, accounting for 0.13% of our total scope 1 emissions. Our fuel efficiency dashboard also builds awareness and provides insights to help flight crew make more informed choices.

  • 18,900tonnes

    of in-flight carbon emissions saved

Pilot in Cockpit

Incorporating Sustainability into Our
Wider Operations 

We have implemented a range of initiatives to increase efficiency at our properties and within our ground operations. 

As part of our multi-million-pound ground vehicle transformation, more than 90% of our vehicles and pieces of ground equipment at Heathrow Airport are either zero emissions electrical equipment when being used or driven (hybrids), or are operating on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) fuel.

  • We’re using HVO fuel as an alternative fuel source for more than 750 vehicles and pieces of ground equipment at Heathrow Airport. Derived from 100% renewable sources, HVO can reduce lifecycle GHG emissions by up to 90% compared to fossil fuels, while also significantly improving air quality by lowering particulate matter, NOx, and unburned hydrocarbons.
  • We’re investing in eCobus electric passenger buses, electric toilet service trucks, tugs and electric ground agent vehicles.
  • We have improved our battery and charging technology for our electric baggage tugs by utilising long life lithium-ion battery technology which uses less energy compared to traditional battery technology. We’re also partnering with our supply chain to recycle the majority of the battery components.
  • In 2024, we will continue our ground vehicle transformation – replacing passenger and colleague steps which typically run on diesel, with electric variants, as well as replacing our diesel-powered tarmac transporters with hybrid electric models.
  • In addition to making HVAC, lighting, and hangar doors upgrades, as well as encouraging behaviour change, our properties use electricity generated from renewable resources which are backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs).
Man refuelling vehicle
Electric bus
Woman operating a Mototok

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) can be produced from sustainable feedstocks, such as used cooking oil, woody biomass, or orchard and forestry waste.

Using SAF results in a reduction in carbon emissions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces over the lifecycle of the fuel. As SAF is similar in chemistry to traditional fossil jet fuel, it can be dropped straight into existing fuel supply infrastructure and aircraft without modification and is therefore the readiest solution to help decarbonise aviation. It has the potential to provide a lifecycle carbon reduction of more than 80% compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces.

A major challenge is that SAF availability remains low globally, and today accounts for just over 1% of our total fuel. So, we have committed to fuelling our aircraft with 10% SAF by 2030.  Alongside our parent company IAG, who has so far committed $865 million to SAF investments and purchases, we see SAF as one of the key solutions in our transition to Net Zero. This includes investing in first-of-a-kind SAF plants in the UK and US to scale up the availability of SAF.

Planes refuelling

We have already announced four SAF projects, using a range of technologies, which include: 

  • Philips 66

    We were the first airline in the world to use SAF produced on a commercial scale in the UK, after signing a multi-year agreement with Phillips 66 Limited.  The UK produced SAF, made from used cooking oil, is routinely delivered to Heathrow Airport via pipeline.

  • LanzaJet

    We have invested in the world’s first ethanol alcohol-to-jet plant located in Freedom Pines, Georgia. The plant opened in January 2024.

  • Project Speedbird

    Using wood waste, and utilising LanzaJet technology, this new investment in the North East of England, is projected to reduce lifecycle emissions by 230,000 tonnes a year, when complete.

  • Aemetis

    Suppling SAF to British Airways and Aer Lingus to power flights from San Francisco from 2025. Made from orchard and forestry waste, the plant will be powered by 100% renewable electricity and is designed to sequestrate CO2 from the production process.

In 2022, we utilised 9,980 tonnes of SAF, rising to more than 50,000t in 2023 – a fivefold increase in one year. Even though this represents just over 1% of our total fuel usage, it demonstrates our progress towards 10% SAF usage by 2030.

We also helped our corporate and cargo customers reduce over 142,000 tonnes of their Scope 3 emissions in 2023.

Investing in Future Innovation

As part of IAG, we continue to invest in start-ups and emerging companies with the potential to influence the future of sustainable travel. This includes Zero Avia, the UK’s first hydrogen powered aircraft to have successfully conducted test flights at their base in the Cotswolds. More recently, Zero Avia successfully flew a 19-seater Dornier 228 testbed aircraft with a hydrogen-electric engine.

The Impact of Enhanced Rock Weathing Diagram

Carbon Removals

Alongside IAG, we’ve supported research and innovation to help accelerate the development of cutting-edge carbon removals solutions since 2019. We’re supporting a variety of innovative carbon removal solutions and projects that are immediately available and independently verified today, as well as innovative technology solutions that will mature in the coming years.

In 2023, we announced a new, first-of-a-kind carbon removals partnership with CUR8, UNDO and Standard Chartered. Under the pilot, we committed to purchasing more than 4,000 tonnes of carbon removal credits delivered by UNDO, an enhanced rock weathering start-up which utilises a nature-based technology to permanently lock away CO₂ from the atmosphere.
.

UNDO, CUR8 and Standard Chartered Logos

Non-CO2 Climate Impacts

In addition to carbon emissions, flying also releases non-CO2 emissions such as nitrogen oxides, water vapour, sulphate aerosols, soot aerosols and the associated formation of condensation trails (contrails).

To better understand our non-CO2 climate impacts and the opportunities to mitigate them, we’re working with organisations such as Breakthrough Energy, the Jet Zero Council, the Aerospace Technology Institute and researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Leeds. Our collaboration with the scientific community and other partners aims to help reduce the uncertainties associated with non-CO2 impacts, so that the whole of the aviation industry can better understand the opportunities for improvement.

Diagram showing emissions from plane engine.

Yearly Statistics

  • Scope 1 CO2e

    Direct emissions associated with British Airways operations including use of jet fuel, diesel, petrol, natural gas, and halon. Sources of emissions include aircraft engines, boilers, auxiliary power units and ground vehicle engines. These emissions are primarily CO2 but other greenhouse gasses (GHGs) such as methane and nitrogen oxide are also reported as part of the CO2 equivalent metric.

    Measurement: Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

    7,250,236 19,047,278 5,978,784 11,887,802 14,986,281
  • Net Scope 1 CO2e emissions

    Net emissions are calculated by subtracting the emission allowances purchased above the EU ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) cap and voluntarily purchased offsets.

    Measurement: Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

    17,630,259 7,081,895 5,781,757 11,043,309 13,481,195
  • Scope 2 location-based emissions

    Emissions associated with electricity use in, for example, offices, lounges, data centres and hangars.

    Measurement: Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

    44,442 31,324 26,857 28,414 32,093
  • Scope 2 market-based emissions

    Market-based emissions are based on the carbon intensity of electricity purchased from suppliers.

    Measurement: Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

    12,817 7,616 6,908 8,959 10,878
  • Scope 3 emissions

    Indirect emissions associated with key products and services within our supply chain.

    Measurement: Tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

    5,535,880 2,138,259 1,674,405 2,773,091 3,342,507
  • Emissions intensity (jet fuel)

    Calculated by dividing total jet fuel scope 1 emissions by total passenger-km, assuming one cargo-tonne-km is equivalent to 10 passenger-km.

    Measurement: Grammes of CO2e per passenger kilometre (gCO2/pkm)

    96.3 110.4 101.6 89.4 86.2
  • Renewable electricity

    The share of global electricity generated by renewable sources such as solar power and wind, based on volumes procured from renewable electricity suppliers. In cases where electricity sources were unavailable, the source of electricity is assumed to be the national grid.

    Measurement: %

    80% 83% 82% 77% 78%
  • Reduction in GHG emissions from initiatives

    Measurement: Tonnes CO2e

    6,905 14,132 0 48,546 18,900
  • Jet fuel usage

    Measurement: Million tonnes

    5,973,791 2,271,605 1,871,256 3,729,216 4,705,780
  • Energy intensity scope 2

    Measurement: Grammes of scope 2 CO2e per passenger kilometre (gCO2/pkm)

    0.228 0.483 0.442 0.234 0.184
  • Electricity

    Measurement: kWh

    157,426,722 121,612,341 113,509,593 129,816,509 130,495,977