Air France-KLM secures a third of its SAF supplies

© Airbus / P. Masclet

Air France-KLM has signed two contracts to supply non-fossil fuels. These firm orders, whose amount is unspecified, represent 1.6 million tonnes of standard aviation fuel (SAF): one million ordered from Finnish company Neste, covering the period 2023 to 2030, and 600,000 tonnes from US company DG Fuels. , for 2027-2036, the Franco-Dutch aviation group pointed out.

This is the “first step” to achieve the group’s ambitions to incorporate 10% SAF in its aircraft by 2030: these purchases, according to the carrier, will cover a third of these needs, and discussions with other suppliers are “in progress”.

By 2030, Air France aims to reduce CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometer by 30% compared to 2019. This compares with 2019, Air France noted last April. , the difference is due to the forecast growth of traffic.

Fatima Gloria de Sousa, vice-president of the committee responsible for sustainable development, explained that the 10% integration proves to be “more ambitious” than the European objectives under discussion for 2030, which will be 5%. Although accounting for only 2.5 to 3% of global CO2 emissions, aviation is singled out for its contribution to global warming.

But given the pace of growth expected by the sector, this relative share will increase beyond the effects of Covid-19, which halved the number of customers in 2021 compared to 2019. By 2050, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) expects 10 billion.

SAF is still very expensive

Iata members have committed to “net zero emissions” of CO2 for air transport by 2050, thanks mainly to SAF, the production of which is currently embryonic: l ‘Iata wants 30 billion liters in 2030 against 125 million in 2021.

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Air France-KLM’s commitments have been submitted to the consortium in a reference to the “Science-Based Targets Initiative”, which confirms that the targets are based on climate science and are in line with the Paris Agreement. In addition to SAF, Air France-KLM is counting on renewing its fleet and improving operational efficiency (environmental piloting, optimized air traffic control, etc.) to reduce its carbon footprint.

Aircraft engines are now certified to operate with blends up to 50% SAF, but this is currently three to four times more expensive than fossil-based kerosene. The key to lowering the prices of these molecules, especially those made from biomass, is to develop large-scale production chains.

“By signing these long-term contracts, we are helping SAF suppliers to establish demand in order to comfort them in their investments,” argued Fatima Gloria de Souza.

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