Stock Boeing airlines Qantas
Qantas CEO says corporate demand is back to 90 per cent of 2019 levels. Image Credit: AP

Airbus SE and Qantas Airways Ltd will make a joint investment aimed at kick-starting Australia’s sustainable aviation fuel industry.

The planemaker and airline plan to invest as much as $200 million to accelerate the adoption of SAF in the country, they said on Sunday ahead of the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting in Doha.

“The use of SAF is increasing globally as governments and industry work together to find ways to decarbonise the aviation sector,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said at a joint press conference. “Without swift action, Australia is at risk of getting left behind.”

The partners will make equal investments in the project, with a smaller contribution from Raytheon Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney arm, whose geared turbofan engines Qantas selected for a recent Airbus A220 and A320neo order. The firms could ultimately also take equity stakes in SAF ventures that are deemed viable.

Sydney-based Qantas currently uses around 1 per cent SAF in its network but will look to grow this, Joyce said.

The CEO said that corporate demand is back to 90 per cent of 2019 levels, with leisure bookings rebounding even faster and now at 120 per cent of the pre-Covid position as the end of travel curbs prompts people to take a holiday or visit family and friends. International capacity should be fully recovered by the second quarter of 2023, he said.