Embracing the Future of Sustainable Aviation with SAF

Regional & City Airports CEO Andrew Bell reflects on the ongoing movement to see sustainable aviation fuels adopted across the industry.

The recent milestone achieved by Virgin Atlantic, successfully operating a transatlantic flight predominantly powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), is a testament to the aviation industry's commitment to a greener future. It is also an achievement that resonates deeply with us at RCA, particularly in light of our own strides in sustainable aviation at Norwich Airport.

In May 2023, under our management Norwich Airport introduced SAF in collaboration with Air bp, marking a significant step in our journey towards reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. This initiative, which saw SAF being made available for the first time at Norwich, aligns perfectly with our steadfast commitment to a low-carbon future, mirroring the global efforts of pioneers like Virgin Atlantic.

Our partnership with Air bp and the adoption of SAF by SaxonAir, one of the UK’s leading non-scheduled aviation operators based at Norwich, signifies more than just a strategic decision. It represents a collective dedication to environmental stewardship and innovation. The SAF provided by Air bp, made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks like used cooking oil, offers an impressive reduction of up to 80% in carbon emissions over its lifecycle compared to traditional jet fuel.

As RCA's Chief Executive, I am immensely proud of this initiative. It not only places Norwich Airport among a select group of UK regional airports offering SAF but also underlines our broader commitment to sustainable practices across our airport operations. This effort complements our ambitious goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, a target we are passionately pursuing through a variety of measures including energy consumption reduction, expansion of renewable infrastructure, and phased reduction of fossil fuel reliance.

The success of Virgin Atlantic's SAF trial is an inspiring development for the industry. It showcases the potential of sustainable fuels to significantly reduce the environmental impact of aviation. At RCA, we are motivated by such milestones and remain committed to embracing innovative solutions to achieve our sustainability goals.

We understand the challenges ahead on our path towards sustainable aviation, but we are more prepared than ever to lead the charge. Our efforts are not isolated but part of a global movement towards greener aviation, a movement where initiatives like Norwich Airport's SAF introduction and Virgin Atlantic's transatlantic SAF flight are harbingers of a more sustainable future in aviation.

To our stakeholders, partners, and the communities we serve, I extend an invitation to join us on this journey. Together, we can redefine the landscape of aviation, demonstrating how regional airports can be catalysts for change, fostering community collaboration, and driving green innovations for a sustainable tomorrow.


Regional & City Airports
Exeter Airport

T: 01737 823690
E: info@rca.aero

Public Relations

Iain S Bruce

Judy Groves