Thursday, 5 December 2019

Air France plans flights from San Francisco fueled with sustainable aviation fuel

Air France (1) and Shell (2) have signed a memorandum of understanding signalling their intent to fuel flights from San Francisco International Airport using a blend of conventional and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with effect from 1 June 2020.

This collaboration between Air France, World Energy, and Shell exemplifies what the industry needs; a supply of SAF that is mature enough to be integrated into airlines’ daily operations.

The SAF is notably made from inedible waste fats and oils. This RSB (4)-certified alternative fuel meets strict sustainability standards and can be delivered via the airport’s hydrant system. The airline anticipates that this initiative will help save approximately 6,000 tons (3) of CO2  (5) over a period of 16 months.

Air France has long advocated the creation of a viable sustainable aviation fuel sector. A pioneer in its use on commercial flights, Air France first initiated experiments as early as 2014 and has since heavily invested in innovation, working hand-in-hand with researchers.

This is another example of the airline’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint at every step of the value chain. Its sustainable development agenda for 2030 involves cutting CO2 emissions by 50%, which Air France notably aims to achieve by investing in fuel-efficient aircraft. 

Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France: “Sustainable Aviation fuels are integral to our sustainability approach. They constitute an immediate concrete response to our environmental challenges and we must encourage their production. This initiative in California demonstrates that when states set up incentive mechanisms, production picks up and airlines are given the means to take action. We as a community must look at this as an example and duplicate it around the world, notably at home, in France.”

Anna Mascolo, Vice President Shell Aviation: “Along with new technologies and offsets, sustainable aviation fuels have a huge role to play in reducing emissions from air travel. With urgent action and industry collaboration it is possible to fly and emit less. However, we are still at the beginning of the journey with significant opportunity to increase the supply of sustainable aviation fuel and replicate successes such as this globally. At Shell we are committed to working with the industry towards a more sustainable aviation industry. Commitments like this from Air France can only help accelerate this journey, giving producers the assurance to invest in building refinery capacity and enabling us to develop the supply infrastructure required.”

Bryan Sherbacow, Chief Commercial Officer, World Energy: “We are proud to enable Air France and Shell to deliver a low-carbon fuel solution to their aviation customers. The route to widespread availability and use of sustainable aviation fuel is awareness and supportive policy similar to that of California. This important collaboration elevates visibility with both international consumers and legislators.”

[1] Société Air France SA
[2] Société des Pétroles Shell (“Shell’’). The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate legal entities. In this press release “Shell”, “Shell Group” and “Royal Dutch Shell” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. These terms are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular entity or entities.
[3] The estimated CO2 reductions have been calculated by Air France and are based on the volumes of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) supplied when compared to the same volumes of fossil JET-A fuel. ICAO CORSIA CO2 combustion emission factors for fossil JET-A fuel and life-cycle CO2 emission factors following Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) Methodology for the SAF were used.
[4] Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) Methodology
[5] See footnote above.

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