Finnair's passenger biofuel purchase initiative takes off with first SAF flights from San Francisco
Mon 19 Aug 2019 – Following its ‘Push for change’ initiative launched earlier this year, Finnair has used sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on two flights from San Francisco to Helsinki. The initiative encourages passengers to either offset the carbon emissions from their flights or mitigate their carbon footprint through paying to contribute towards the cost of Finnair buying more expensive biofuel. The airline carried out a consumer survey a year ago that found travellers were prepared to pay more to lower the environmental impact from their flights as long as the proceeds went directly towards mitigation projects. Finnair, along with SAS and KLM, subsequently signed an agreement with Shell, World Energy and SkyNRG to use SAF produced from Californian-sourced used cooking oil at World Energy’s Paramount refinery in Los Angeles.
“The launch of our ‘Push for change’ initiative was an important step for Finnair in order to provide our customers with the opportunity to conveniently offset or decrease the emissions from their travel,” commented Arja Suominen, SVP Communications & Corporate Responsibility at Finnair.
“We have been pleased with the early phases of the initiative so far and we are now excited to move forward and fly our two first biofuel flights supported entirely by the ‘Push for change’ contributions. We naturally hope that customers will be increasingly willing and interested in using the service in the future as well.”
The two flights used a blended fuel containing 12% SAF, which Finnair says reduced the total CO2 emissions for the flights by around 32 tons.
The Finnair initiative allows passengers to contribute €10, €20 or €65 towards the cost of buying biofuel. Passengers can also opt to support an emissions reduction project in Mozambique by donating €1 for a round trip within Finland, €2 for a round trip within Europe or €6 for an intercontinental round trip.
San Francisco Airport has big ambitions to be a major hub for the supply of SAF and estimates that if a half of the 1 billion gallons of jet fuel currently refuelled annually by airlines at the airport was made up of SAF, CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 4.8 million tonnes per year. SFO has been working on a study to identify the necessary supply chain and infrastructure required to make this a reality. A change to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard to allow the opt-in inclusion of SAF has also stimulated its production (see article).