Air France-KLM Group revealed today that it has sourced 1.6 million tons, or roughly 2 billion liters, of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from suppliers Neste and DG Fuels, in one of the largest SAF announcements in the industry to date.
Under the terms of the new agreements, Neste will supply Air France-KLM with the fuel over an 8-year period, beginning in 2023, and DG Fuels will supply 600,000 tons between 2027 and 2036.
The deals come as the aviation industry is facing increasing scrutiny as a significant source of GHG emissions, responsible for 2-3% of global emissions, with that figure set to rise dramatically over the coming decades if no action is taken. SAF is seen by market participants as one of the key tools for the industry to address its climate impact, as it generates significantly lower carbon emissions relative to conventional jet fuel.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, said:
“Decarbonisation is the biggest challenge the aviation industry has ever faced. Air France-KLM is activating all available levers to reduce its environmental impact: fleet renewal, eco-piloting, and the increased use of certified Sustainable Aviation Fuels. The contracts we have signed embody our long-term commitment to the development of SAF production capabilities around the world, to the benefit of the industry as a whole.”
The announcement follows the release earlier this year of a CO2 emissions reduction strategy by Air France-KLM, with goals to achieve 30% less CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 2030, and an ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The new strategy envisions utilizing 10% SAF on all flights by 2030, and 63% by 2050, alongside additional actions including fleet renewal, use of eco-piloting techniques, and the development of intermodal transport offerings for short-distance journeys, among others.
Air France-KLM’s SAF sourcing policy commits the company to purchasing SAF that does not compete with human food or animal feed supply, that are RSB or ISCC+ certified for their sustainability, and that are not derived from palm oil.
Fatima Gloria de Soussa, Director Sustainability, Air France-KLM Group, said:
“This contract embodies our long-term commitment to the development of SAF’s production capabilities around the world, to the benefit of the industry as a whole.”
Neste’s “MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel” is made from 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials like used cooking oil. When used in its neat form, the fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions over its lifecycle by up to 80% compared to fossil jet fuel use. The fuel can be used with existing aircraft engines and airport fuel infrastructure, requiring no new investment. Neste said that it expects to reach annual SAF production capacity of 1.5 million tons by the end of next year.
Matti Lehmus, President and CEO of Neste, said:
“Neste is fully committed to helping the aviation industry achieve its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target, and sustainable aviation fuel will play a central role in that effort. Today’s announcement, which marks a significant next step forward in our cooperation with Air France-KLM Group, underscores how we continue to support companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”
DG Fuels’ SAF utilizes cellulosic waste products like timber trimmings from the logging industry, which does not impair food supply and is essentially water neutral. The fuel production system also relies entirely on renewable energy such as wind and solar.
Michael C. Darcy, Chief Executive Officer of DG Fuels, said:
“DG Fuels is committed to developing and supporting initiatives that provide practical and sustainable benefits to airlines around the world. We are proud to take this next long-term step alongside Air France KLM in supporting the lasting sustainability of our planet by reducing the impact of airline travel on the environment.”