KLM Cityhopper to operate 80 flights from Oslo to Amsterdam using ITAKA-sourced camelina biofuel
Wed 6 Apr 2016 – KLM’s regional airline subsidiary KLM Cityhopper has started a series of around 80 commercial flights on its Oslo to Amsterdam route using biofuel provided by the European ITAKA consortium. Believed to be the first European regional airline to use aviation biofuels, the flights will be operated with an Embraer 190 aircraft. The aircraft manufacturer will be conducting measurements during the flights to gauge the efficiency of biofuel in comparison with conventional jet kerosene. The sustainable jet fuel is derived from RSB-certified camelina oil supplied by SkyNRG and Air BP, and produced by Finland’s Neste. In January, Oslo Airport operator Avinor became the first to be able to supply biofuel directly from its hydrant system, although to accurately compare the efficiency of the biofuel with kerosene, the fuel for the Embraer flights will be supplied by fuel trucks.
The cost of the sustainable jet fuel for the flights, which will take place over four to five weeks, has been partly funded by partners in the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme. Established in 2012, the initiative includes organisations such as ABN AMRO, Accenture, Heineken, City of Amsterdam and the Schiphol Group. The participants pay a surcharge on their corporate travel based on the price difference between sustainable biofuel and conventional jet fuel, which is then used to purchase biofuel.
“For the coming years, the price gap remains the biggest challenge to creating a stable market for sustainable jet fuel,” explained SkyNRG CEO Maarten van Dijk. “Therefore engagement of all stakeholders, including governments, industry and end customers is crucial. Initiatives like ITAKA and the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme are great examples where all players work together.”
Added Boet Kreiken, Managing Director of KLM Cityhopper: “KLM believes that sustainable biofuel is important for the airline industry. For this reason, we have for some time been cooperating with different partners, including those united within the scope of the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme, to stimulate the development of the market.”
The ITAKA (Initiative Towards sustainable Kerosene for Aviation) project claims to be the first of its kind in the world to form an entire value chain for jet biofuel production and has received research funding from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme. ITAKA coordinator Inmaculada Gómez noted that KLM was the launch customer for ITAKA-sourced fuels when it supplied the airline for a series of biofuel flights from Amsterdam to Aruba and Bonaire in 2014. The biofuel for the Cityhopper Embraer flights was both certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and fully compliant with the EU RED standard, she said.
Although it had already taken part in a number of biofuel initiatives and research projects, Embraer’s President in Europe, Jorge Ramos, said the Cityhopper venture represented the first time the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer had been involved with a series of regular flights.
Using 18% less fuel than the Fokker 70 aircraft they are replacing, KLM said the addition of the Embraer aircraft type to the fleet tied in with its ambition to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% per passenger in 2020 compared to 2011 levels through increasing fuel efficiency as well as using sustainable biofuels.