Singapore Airlines (SIA), in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), has started operating a series of 12 biofuels-powered flights over a three-month period on its non-stop San Francisco-Singapore route.
Featuring SIA’s latest-generation and most fuel-efficient aircraft – the Airbus A350-900 - the ‘green package’ flights are the first in the world to combine the use of biofuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised flight operations.
CAAS is facilitating the use of these optimised flight operations and Air Traffic Management (ATM) best practices which reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions for the flights.
The first of the 12 flights, SQ31, departed San Francisco at 1121hrs (San Francisco Time) on 1 May 2017 and arrived in Singapore at 1910 hrs (Singapore Time) on 2 May with 206 passengers on board.
The flights will be powered by a combination of hydro-processed esters and fatty acids, a sustainable biofuel produced from used cooking oils, and conventional jet fuel. The biofuel, produced by AltAir Fuels, will be supplied and delivered to San Francisco by SkyNRG in collaboration with North American Fuel Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Aviation Oil (Singapore), and EPIC Fuels.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), sustainable biofuel is a promising technological solution which will reduce the airline industry’s carbon emissions. It has been certified safe for use in commercial aviation since 2011, and has been in use by airlines in other parts of the world.
Taking to the skies
Singapore Airlines is also a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), which was established in 2008 to accelerate the development and commercialisation of sustainable biofuels for aviation, derived from environmentally and socially-sustainable sources.
“Singapore Airlines’ fleet is already among the most modern and fuel-efficient in the world. We now want to push ourselves further and are embarking on this initiative to help promote the use of sustainable biofuel in an operationally and commercially-viable manner. This is in line with our long-term commitment to further reduce carbon emissions while improving the efficiency of our operations. This initiative is especially memorable as our first biofuel flight departed from San Francisco on 1 May, when Singapore Airlines celebrated its 70th anniversary,” said SIA’s CEO, Goh Choon Phong.
“CAAS is pleased to support and participate in this initiative. This is part of CAAS’ ongoing effort to develop new initiatives to achieve the sustainable growth of aviation. Collaboration is key in this effort. CAAS is therefore committed to continuing our work with industry partners to advance and drive greater innovation on this front,” said director-general of CAAS, Kevin Shum.
This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Biofuels International.