Finnair’s scheduled commercial biofuel flight marks a step towards more sustainable flying, says airline
Finnair A319 readied for biofuel flight at Amsterdam Schiphol (photo: Finnair)
Wed 20 July 2011 – Finnair this evening joined KLM and Lufthansa as one of the first airlines to use blended sustainable jet biofuel on a commercial scheduled flight. Both engines of an Airbus A319 were fuelled with a mix of 50 per cent biofuel derived from used cooking oil and 50 per cent conventional jet fuel. The 1,500km journey between Amsterdam and Helsinki was the longest scheduled flight so far to use biofuel. Finnair plans to carry out a series of four such flights over the coming weeks. The fuel is part of a batch sourced and held at Schiphol by Dutch company SkyNRG, which was also used by KLM in the first ever such flight on June 29 and is also being supplied to Thomson Airways in the UK for its planned flight on July 28.
Finnair said it was important to find an ecologically, financially and socially sustainable fuel solution and the flight marked a step towards more sustainable flying.
“Biofuel use is still not financially sustainable because biofuel is more expensive than ordinary aviation fuel and no large-scale production or distribution has yet been established,” said Finnair’s Vice President Sustainable Development, Kati Ihamäki.
“Finnair, moreover, does not receive any kind of financial support to use biofuel, unlike some other airlines,” she adds, referring to the funding Lufthansa received from the German government towards its burnFAIR project, which saw the start of its six-month programme of regular biofuel flights last week (July15).
The used cooking oil that formed the basis of the Finnair jet biofuel came from Dynamic Fuels in Louisiana, USA, and was blended by Salem, OR, based aviation fuel supplier EPIC Aviation.
“By being smart, nimble and innovative, Finnair can play a very important game in building this industry,” Dirk Kronemeijer, Managing Director of SkyNRG told GreenAir. “We have also signed an MOU with Finnair that will help them to get sustainable but affordable fuel in the future by participating in our supply chain projects.”
Added Ihamäki: “We want to be a pioneer in the sustainable development of air transport. SkyNRG’s leading approach in setting up innovative supply chains for truly sustainable jet fuel made them a logical partner for us.”
Commenting on behalf of Airbus, the aircraft manufacturer’s Head of Environmental Affairs, Andrea Debbane, said: “Our sector’s goal is to find sustainable biofuel solutions so we do not compete with food, land nor water and these Finnair flights are a step in that direction. Airbus is at the forefront in helping to speed up the commercialisation of biofuels for aviation and these latest passenger flights are proof that we have already come a long way.”