Kenya Airways wins ‘Best Innovation’ and ‘Most Impactful Breakthrough’ awards for Piloting Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)



Nairobi, 9th October 2023 – Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ), has been awarded the Best Innovation and the Most Impactful Breakthrough awards for being the first African carrier to pioneer use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) from Africa to Europe. The awards were presented at the 2023 Sustainable Flight Challenge Awards ceremony held at Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on 3rd October 2023. This recognition follows the successful execution of a long-haul flight by KQ from Nairobi to Amsterdam that piloted SAF during the Sustainable Flight Challenge 2023, a friendly competition initiative by the SkyTeam Alliance. Kenya Airways became the first African airline to fly a long-haul commercial flight from Africa to Europe using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).


Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Airways, stated, “This ‘Best Innovation’ award is an achievement that highlights the beginning of our commitment to pioneering sustainable aviation practices, taking the lead in innovation, and driving change within our industry. This is a collective win for all KQ employees, our valued stakeholders, and the planet we serve for inspiring us to continue our journey towards a better, environmentally responsible aviation industry.”


22 airlines, comprising of SkyTeam members and ‘friends and family’ airlines, participated in The Sustainable Flight Challenge 2023 and collectively operated 72 flights. Over 350 innovative ideas were submitted for industry-wide adoption. Notably, this year’s challenge led to an average 19% reduction in CO2 intensity compared to the same flights operated in the previous month. Participants in the 2023 challenge generated hundreds of ideas to help drive a more responsible future for aviation—solutions that can be shared across the industry. Launched in 2022, the Sustainable Flight Challenge fosters competition to stimulate innovations aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of air travel.


During the awards ceremony, Patrick Roux, CEO of SkyTeam Alliance, commended Kenya Airways, stating, “We congratulate Kenya Airways on their remarkable achievement in spearheading sustainable aviation practices. This represents a significant advancement in the industry’s environmental initiatives and underscores Kenya Airways’ dedication to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. I am also excited that the participating airlines have sparked numerous innovative solutions and new approaches that have the potential to drive positive change within the industry. At the same time, we await groundbreaking technologies and the increased availability of sustainable aviation fuels.”


Other winners included KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, recognized for their impressive adoption of sustainable solutions; Air France, acknowledged for their outstanding collaboration through the OLGA (Holistic Green Airport) project; and China Eastern, commended for their substantial emissions reduction through increased payload fractions.


About Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 42 destinations worldwide, 35 of which are in Africa. In 2022 the World Travel Awards recognized KQ as Africa’s Leading Airline, Africa’s Leading Airline Brand, Africa’s Leading Airline – Business Class, and Africa’s Leading Inflight Magazine (Msafiri). In 2023 KQ was awarded Best Airline Staff in Africa at the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards. KQ’s fleet comprises of wide body Boeing aircraft, that includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner and narrow body Embraer E190 aircraft.

The on-board service is renowned worldwide and the lie-flat business class seat on the widebody aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. Kenya Airways takes pride in being at the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

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