Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


The paper did a comparative analysis of the carbon emission and European Union Emission Trading Surcharges (EU ETS) of South African Airways (SAA) current fleet that used aviation jet A1 fuel and the same fleet if it had used a 25% bio-fuel ‘drop in’ for the European routes within the first quarter of the 2014 flying year (FY 14). Operational data in terms of the flight scheduled, aircraft type, total time enroute, route stage length, passenger estimates were obtained through SAA’s flight operations website. An independent t–test was conducted to compare means of the emissions. The mean carbon dioxide emission for the Jet A1 fuel was (M= 211,729.91, SD = 39,306.29) as compared to the 25% ‘blend-in’ bio-fuel (M= 160,913.78, SD= 30,521.59) and there existed statistically significant differences, t (1149.65) = 25.25, p < .001 in the carbon dioxide emissions of the fleet on the route. A t-test of means was significant in terms of EU ETS, t (1133.16) = -26.08, p < .001 and showed a decrease in the EU ETS for flights to EU countries within the study period when using the 25 % bio-fuel blend (M= 1286.90, SD = 244.19) as compared to Jet A1 fuel (M= 1715.90, SD= 325.59). The study suggested that the present high cost of bio fuel for aviation compared to Jet A1 and the concerns about a sustainable supply chain process for the distribution of bio-jet fuel may affect the complete replacement of Jet A1 with Bio fuel in South African Airways operations. The study recommended for further research on the overall benefits of bio-fuel use by other airlines in the developing countries of Africa in the midst of competition from airlines from Europe, Middle- East, and Asia.