Iberia Airlines has completed its first long-haul flight using biofuel produced by Spain’s Repsol, the first of several other planned flights to the US.

The first flight, using fuel from waste produced at Repsol’s Petronor refinery in Bilbao, travelled from Madrid to Washington DC via an Airbus A330-200. The next flights will travel to Dallas and San Francisco — the first post-pandemic flight to do so.

The use of biofuels on these three flights is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 125 tonnes.

“As a sector, the aeronautical industry needs solutions such as biofuels for a decarbonisation process like the one we are currently undergoing. Repsol and Iberia’s commitments place us at the forefront in this aspect,” Repsol chief executive Josu Jon Imaz said.

The European Union has set guidelines for airlines to incorporate up to 2% of sustainable aviation fuel in their fuel use by 2025. The companies said these three flights make up that 2% already.

Repsol and Iberia announced last year an agreement to support sustainable mobility, and they collaborated on the AVIATOR project to analyse how aviation emissions impact the air quality at airports. Iberia previously operated a flight from Madrid to Bilbao using sustainable aviation fuel.

The companies said the fuel was produced from waste from the agri-food industry that is not suitable for human consumption.

They will continue to use biofuel at percentages of up to 50% produced from the Petronor refinery, as well as Repsol’s industrial complex in Cartagena.

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