Singapore Airlines aims to adopt regular usage of sustainable fuels as it starts first in a series of biofuel flights
Refuelling SIA SQ31 flight at San Francisco with blended biofuel (photo: SkyNRG)
Wed 3 May 2017 – Singapore Airlines (SIA) has undertaken its first sustainable biofuel flight as part of a series of 12 ‘green package’ flights over a three-month period on the non-stop San Francisco to Singapore route. Operating its latest-generation and most fuel-efficient aircraft – the Airbus A350-900 – the airline claims the series of flights are the first in the world to combine the use of biofuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised flight operations. The biofuel for the SQ31 flight is produced by AltAir Fuels from used cooking oil and supplied by SkyNRG in cooperation with North American Fuel Corporation (NAFCO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Aviation Oil (Singapore) and EPIC Fuels. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is facilitating the use of the optimised flight operations and air traffic management (ATM) best practices to reduce the fuel burn and carbon emissions from the flights.
The ‘green package’ initiative is aimed, reports CAAS, at supporting efforts under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 to develop Singapore as a Leading Green Economy, where businesses adopt more efficient and sustainable processes and measures to reduce their resource and environmental impact. The flights are also intended to raise awareness of sustainable biofuels for aviation and provide an insight on the economics, logistical requirements and performance of biofuels. In the long run, the participants in the series hope to push for the adoption of regular, commercially-viable sustainable aviation biofuel usage in the country.
“This is in line with our long-term commitment to further reduce carbon emissions while improving the efficiency of our operations,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong. “This initiative is especially memorable as our first biofuel flight departed on 1 May, when the airline celebrated its 70th anniversary.”
China Aviation Oil (CAO) is the largest physical jet fuel trader in the Asia-Pacific region and the sole supplier of imported jet fuel to China’s civil aviation industry, as well as a supplier of jet fuel through subsidiaries to airports in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
“CAO’s key strategic objective is to become a niche player in future sustainable transportation fuels,” said CAO CEO Meng Fanqiu. “This first biofuel transaction marks our Group’s maiden contribution to a sustainable and healthy aviation future.”
Having already supplied over 25 airlines worldwide with sustainable aviation fuels, SkyNRG CEO Maarten van Dijk said his company was now committed over the long term to working with SIA, which is a member of the industry’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, to develop a regional supply for such fuels in Singapore.
The optimised flight operations to be employed during the ‘green package’ series include User-Preferred Routes, Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedure, 30/30 Reduced Oceanic Separation and Time-Based Arrivals Management.
Both SIA and CAAS have participated in the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) programme, and in January 2010 carried out a demonstration flight from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo that yielded fuel savings of 6%. In May 2011, regular ASPIRE flights were launched on the Los Angeles to Singapore route, with other routes since being added, including SIA’s ‘Capital Express’ service between Singapore, Canberra and Wellington. The ‘green package’ flights will also adopt ATM best practices from the ASPIRE programme.
“This is part of CAAS’ ongoing effort to develop new initiatives to achieve the sustainable growth of aviation,” commented CAAS Director-General Kevin Shum on the latest series of flights. “Collaboration is key in this effort. CAAS is therefore committed to continuing our work with industry partners to advance and drive greater innovation on this front.”