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Build & Sustainability

Willis plans ‘first of kind’ North East sustainable aviation fuel base

Plans have been unveiled to create a green aviation fuel base.

Willis Lease Finance Corporation wants to build a Teesside refinery.

Bosses say it would be the “first of its kind in the North East”, with the site earmarked to transform feedstocks from industrial waste CO2 and green hydrogen into aircraft fuel.

They add it would bolster a partnership between Willis and Teesside International Airport, which already includes an aircraft maintenance and disassembly base and plans for a £25 million repairs hangar and Jet Centre expansion.

The blueprint also comes after airport boss Phil Forster last year told North East Times Magazine of his desire for the site to produce sustainable aviation fuel.

Austin C Willis, Willis Lease Finance Corporation chief executive, said: “Our pioneering sustainable aviation fuel manufacturing project will directly support the global aviation industry’s ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“As the first aviation leasing company to spearhead an initiative of this magnitude, we are thrilled to be continuing our legacy as a leader and innovator in aviation.

“We are serious about this project; we’re committed to its success, and we strongly encourage others in aviation to follow suit.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, [pictured, above, right, with Kevin O’Hare, Willis Lease Finance Corporation’s vice president of Teesside operations] who previously returned the airport to public ownership, added: “Decarbonisation is one of the biggest issues facing the aviation industry.

“If we’re truly serious about becoming the UK’s clean energy powerhouse and growing the airport responsibly, sustainable aviation fuel is an opportunity we need to grab with both hands.”

A planning application is expected to be submitted in the coming weeks.