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Air France plans flights to San Francisco using SAF

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Air France is planning flights to San Francisco fuelled by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The airline signed a memorandum of understanding with Shell, signalling their intent to fuel flights using a blend of conventional and sustainable aviation fuel from 1 June 2020.

According to a statement by Air France, the collaboration with Shell and World Energy “exemplifies what the industry needs; a supply of SAF that is mature enough to be integrated into airlines’ daily operations”.

The proposed SAF is made from inedible waste fats and oils. The RSB (4)-certified alternative fuel meets strict sustainability standards and can be delivered via the airport’s hydrant system. Air France anticipates this initiative will help to save around 6,000 tonnes of CO2 over 16 months.

“Sustainable aviation fuels are integral to our sustainability approach,” said Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France. “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.”

Air France first started experimenting with SAF as early as 2014 and has invested in innovation working collaboratively with researchers. This announcement forms part of the company’s sustainable development agenda for 2030, which involves cutting CO2 emissions by 50%, something the airline aims to achieve by investing in fuel-efficient aircraft.

Anna Mascolo, vice president of Shell Aviation, said: “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.”