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Saudia operates world’s longest net positive flight in sustainability push

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Saudia, the Kingdom’s national carrier operated the world’s longest net positive flight on Thursday, the airline said in a statement to the media.

It was made possible by offsetting 346 tons of carbon emissions on a Jeddah to Madrid flight that lasted five hours and 55 minutes, according to the statement.

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Saudia’s contribution to the program will reportedly see the generation of clean wind electricity for families living in Bhuj, in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

The statement said: “From the offsets bought, wind turbines can be powered for 26 days, generating clean energy for the local population. This Gold Standard project is building wind power in India, displacing an equivalent amount of carbon-intense electricity which would otherwise rely on dirty fossil fuels like coal.”

A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was used to conduct the journey and 256 passengers were on board.

The move apparently marks Saudia’s entry into a sustainable flight challenge where competing airlines find sustainable ways to operate one single flight in their existing networks.

The depth of each airlines’ adoption of sustainability is judged across 14 categories and awarded in June, the report said.

The main goal of this challenge is to develop and find a solution to reducing carbon emissions and helping adopt it across the industry, the statement said.

“The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 will see 100 million visits to Saudi Arabia by the end of the decade,” said Saudia CEO Capt. Ibrahim Koshy in the statement.

“A cornerstone of that vision is for the Kingdom to be a leader in sustainable and even regenerative tourism,” he added, calling the stint the “start of an ambitious sustainability program.”

“Aviation is a difficult sector to decarbonize. New, more sustainable technologies are emerging, but those advances can be easily outpaced by industry growth,” said Michelle Noordermeer, Chief Operating Officer at CarbonClick, the company that is awarded the offsetting task.

“Saudia is setting a huge example by showing what can be done now, carbon offsetting, and using quality carbon credits as a powerful way to remove carbon and neutralize the impacts of radiative forcing,” he said in the statement.

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