The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is one of the most impactful measures for reducing the CO2 emissions from aviation. They enable an 80% to 100% reduction over the entire life cycle for the most innovative technologies. Such fuels will be key to supporting the Air France – KLM Group’s energy transition but also that of the aviation industry as a whole.

Our goal is to contribute to the establishment of a sustainable fuel industry for aviation. Both Air France and KLM have established innovative partnerships with corporate customers, suppliers, airports and logistics partners.

L’investissement dans d’autres projets sur la connaissance et la conservation de la biodiversité contribue également à comprendre le dilemme associé aux services écosystémiques comme à la production des biocarburants durables. Si certains types de biocarburants destinés au transport routier peuvent avoir un impact négatif sur la biodiversité, le groupe Air France - KLM veut garantir l’utilisation de carburants aéronautiques durables qui ont l’impact le plus faible sur l’approvisionnement en nourriture, la biodiversité et un impact positif sur le développement local.

SECURING STRICT SUSTAINABILITY CRITERIA

The Air France – KLM Group is very exacting as regards the sustainability criteria of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel it uses requiring, for example, a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions, a minimal impact on biodiversity, no competition with food production or access to food resources, and a positive impact on local development.

Air France and KLM have been members of a sustainable certification body, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), since 2008, in their capacity as founder members of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG). This body takes into account 12 criteria ranging from food security to rural development, the quality of air, soil and water resources, and waste management.

STIMULATING THE INDUSTRY

Air France and KLM are members of working groups and support research projects aimed at the creation of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel market. For example:

  • Air France has joined forces with the ATAG (Air Transport Aviation Group) to promote, with the French Civil Aviation Research Council, greater knowledge of biofuels for aviation and thus raise public authority awareness of the need to support a French biofuels industry. Air France is also actively participating in the establishment of the French national road map on aviation biofuels managed by the National Alliance for Coordination of Research on Energy (ANCRE);
  • In 2020, KLM continued to purchase 15,642 liters of SAF for its Växjö (Sweden) flights, i.e. 5% of the total fuel use on all flights to/from this destination. Together with Södra and the City of Växjö, KLM and SkyNRG are investigating the feasibility of producing SAF locally;
  • In 2017, Air France signed an Engagement for Green Growth (Engagement pour la Croissance Verte – ECV) with the French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, the French Ministry of Transport and the French Ministry of the Economy and Finance, along with four other major French industrial companies (Airbus, Safran, Suez and Total). This Engagement for Green Growth aims to promote the emergence of sustainable aviation biofuel industries, in economically viable conditions that fully integrate circular economy principles. Its conclusions were published in January 2020, together with a French governmental roadmap to set, on the basis of the ECV recommendations, the principles and ambition for Sustainable Aviation Fuel incorporation and the launch of a call for expressions of interest to build production facilities in France.
  • Since July 2020, within the framework of calls for Expression of Interest, Air France has supported several new Sustainable Aviation Fuel production programs in France and elsewhere in Europe. By actively seeking industrial and logistics partners to combine forces in consortia, the Group is supporting all the innovative technologies, with alternative fuels originating from the circular economy (e.g. used cooking oils, wood residues, household waste, etc.) and, in future, synthetic fuels whose design is based on green electricity and carbon capture.

Supporting regulatory incentives are required for the widescale deployment and the creation of economically-viable production facilities for producers and operators. Therefore, Air France and KLM are actively involved in several initiatives to stimulate these regulations:  European Advanced Biofuels Flightpath, ART Fuels Forum, Ini-FCA French Future Alternative Fuels initiative and BioPort Holland are several examples.

Air France and KLM are part of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow (CST) coalition, which was established within the Global Economic Forum to ensure adequate supplies of SAF so as to be able to fly CO2-neutral by the middle of this century. In cooperation with McKinsey & Company, the coalition compiled the Sustainable Aviation Fuels as a Pathway to Net-Zero Aviation Report, which focuses on themes such as feedstock availability and sustainability, production capacity and the technical possibilities of the most promising SAF production pathways. The coalition has also launched a joint policy proposal to accelerate the deployment of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) in Europe. This involves aligning on a proposed policy package to be submitted to the European Commission to inform a clearly‑defined European strategy to increase the adoption of SAF.

INNOVATING IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN

KLM is one of the founders of SkyNRG, the current worldwide market leader for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Since 2016, all KLM flights from Los Angeles airport have been operated with SAF produced by the local World Energy (former AltAir Fuels) refinery and supplied by SkyNRG. Additionally, KLM has purchased SAF for flights out of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. This sustainable fuel produced by Neste from used cooking oil will bridge the gap until the coming on stream of the SAF production plant.

In 2019, KLM made a decade-long commitment to developing and purchasing an annual 75,000 tons of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. KLM is the first airline in the world to invest in SAF on this scale. SkyNRG will develop Europe’s first dedicated plant for the production of SAF. The construction of this facility, which is scheduled to open in 2023, is a concrete step towards fulfilling KLM’s sustainability ambitions.

In January 2020, KLM carried out the first commercial passenger flight from Amsterdam to Madrid, with an admixture of 500 liters of sustainable synthetic kerosene. Shell produced the synthetic kerosene in its research center in Amsterdam based on CO2, water and renewable energy from sun and wind from Dutch soil. This first flight on synthetic kerosene shows that it is possible in practice and that we can move forward.

INVOLVING CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS

As part of its WWF-Netherlands partnership and Green Deal commitment, in 2012 KLM launched the KLM Corporate BioFuel program, a first for aviation. In 2020, the Air France-KLM Corporate SAF programme was also extended to Air France and regrouped the following partners: ABN Amro, Accenture, Arcadis B.V., Arcadis N.V., Loyens & Loeff, Air Traffic Control The Netherlands (LVNL), Microsoft, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Neste, the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), PGGM, Schiphol Group, SHV Energy, Södra, the University of Delft, Lavazza, Finco Fuel, Hans Grohe SE and IMS Gear.

In december 2020 Air France KLM Martinair (AFKLMP) cargo launched the world’s first SAF Programme for the airfreight industry. This Cargo SAF programme enables freight forwarders and shippers to reduce their CO2 emissions. In this programme shippers and forwarders can decide to power a percentage of their fleigts with SAF.

© AIR FRANCE KLM