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Aviation Sustainability and the Environment, CAPA 21-Oct-2021

Analysis

easyJet operates SAF fuelled proof of concept service from London Gatwick Airport

Alaska Airlines launches investment arm to accelerate net zero progress

Manchester Airports Group and CarbonClick launch carbon offsetting initiative

Aeroporti di Roma commences sustainable aviation fuel supply at Rome Fiumicino Airport

Rolls-Royce completes test of Trent 1000 engine using 100% SAF

This CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. For more information, please contact us.

easyJet operates SAF fuelled proof of concept service from London Gatwick Airport

easyJet, in collaboration with Neste and Q8Aviation, operated (19-Oct-2021) a proof of concept service from London Gatwick Airport (LGW) using Neste's sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blend, marking the first time SAFs have been used at the airport.

LGW plans to fuel 42 flights using the SAF solution, including 39 easyJet services to Glasgow throughout the COP26 Climate Change Conference.

easyJet director of sustainability Jane Ashton said SAFs will be "an important interim solution in our decarbonisation pathway, while we are supporting the development of zero emission aircraft".

Gatwick director of corporate affairs, planning and sustainability Tim Norwood said "smart UK Government policy to underpin investment in cost competitive SAF production" could lead to "many more" flights using SAFs by the mid 2020s. [more - original PR]

Original report: Sustainable Aviation Fuel introduced for first time at Gatwick in collaboration between Q8Aviation, easyJet, Gatwick and Neste:

  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel is introduced for the first time at Gatwick Airport through a collaboration between Q8Aviation, easyJet, Gatwick Airport Ltd and Neste
  • SAF blend to be used on all easyJet flights operating to Glasgow throughout the COP26 Climate Change Conference
  • From today the airline has introduced an electric hydrant dispenser provided by World Fuel Services at the airport – the first in the UK - to further decarbonise its Gatwick operations

With the first one departing today, a total of 42 easyJet flights operating from Gatwick Airport are to be powered by a 30 percent Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ blend.  This important milestone marks the first time a departing flight at Gatwick has used sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and is also the first usage by any easyJet service from the UK. It confirms the strong commitment of all parties involved - international aviation fuel supplier Q8Aviation, easyJet, Gatwick Airport Ltd and Neste – to achieve a net carbon emission reduction in the fuel used in aviation and work towards an ultimate goal for aviation to reach net zero emissions by 2050

Of the 42 flights running Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel blend, 39 of these will be the easyJet flights operating from Gatwick to Glasgow throughout the COP26 Climate Change Conference, which runs from 31st October to 12th November.  Across all 42 flights CO2 emissions will have been reduced by up to 70 tonnes which further signals the industry’s intentions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a course to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Q8Aviation has delivered the first supply of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to the fuel supply at Gatwick Airport. Neste’s market-leading sustainable aviation fuel, which is fully certified, is produced from 100% renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. In its neat form and over its life cycle, Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel can achieve a reduction of up to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel use. 1  

The process starts with Neste-produced SAF which is blended with Jet A-1 fuel at a depot upstream of Gatwick Airport to create a drop-in fuel that is compatible with existing aircraft engines and the airport infrastructure, without requiring extra investment. Q8Aviation then deliver the fuel to the main storage tanks at Gatwick Airport for supply to easyJet aircraft via the airport’s hydrant system.

The incorporation of SAF into Gatwick’s operations for today’s flight is an important proof of concept for the airport in demonstrating its continued commitment to work with its aviation partners on decarbonisation.  Gatwick’s own 2019 carbon footprint showed that the airport is already half-way to net zero for its own operations and is committed to achieving Net Zero direct emissions by 2040.

In a further move to decarbonise operations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, from today, easyJet, in partnership with World Fuel Services, has introduced an electric hydrant dispenser at the airport which will serve its fleet of 71 aircraft at Gatwick. It is the first in the UK and based on diesel equivalents which are estimated to burn 6630 litres of diesel every year, the new electric hydrant dispenser can reduce 18,000 kgs of CO2 emissions annually. The electric hydrant dispenser adds to the electric ground services equipment already supporting easyJet aircraft operations at Gatwick Airport.

Naser Ben Butain, General Manager Q8Aviation said:

“We are delighted to play our part in supplying the first sustainable aviation fuel to easyJet at Gatwick. We have forged a strong partnership with easyJet over many years, and benefit from excellent support from Gatwick Airport Ltd and Neste and look forward to working closely with all the partners to further our sustainability objectives.”

Jane Ashton, Director of Sustainability at easyJet said:

“At easyJet, we want to play our part to lead the decarbonisation of aviation. We’re pleased to announce that today we’re operating using SAF in a proof of concept flight from Gatwick having also committed to using a SAF blend on all flights operating from Gatwick to Glasgow throughout COP26, thanks to a collaborative effort with our partners involved in this project.

“The availability of SAF still needs to grow but they will be an important interim solution in our decarbonisation pathway, while we are supporting the development of zero-emission aircraft, which will be the most sustainable solution for short-haul networks such as our own in the long term. In the meantime, we are operating our flights as efficiently as possible and are currently the only major European airline to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all our flights, which has an impact right now.”

Tim Norwood, Director of Corporate Affairs, Planning and Sustainability of Gatwick Airport said:

“We are pleased to work with our partners to be the first airport in the VINCI Airport network to introduce SAF on a commercial flight and prove the concept that Gatwick is ready and able to operationally utilise SAF.  SAF is one of several ways that UK aviation and Gatwick will reach net zero carbon by 2050, alongside carbon offsets, airspace modernisation and continued innovation in aerospace technology, including electric, hydrogen and hybrid aircraft systems.  With smart Government policy to underpin investment in cost competitive UK SAF production, many more flights could be using UK produced SAF by the mid-2020s.”

Achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050 is both a great challenge and an opportunity for our industry.   Sustainable Aviation’s decarbonisation roadmap and interim goals set out clear milestones and we’re ready to play our part at Gatwick, through implementing the roadmap’s first decade milestones and by keeping the roadmap updated to incorporate additional technology solutions for the 2030s

Jonathan Wood, Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation at Neste said: “The aviation industry has already taken important steps to reduce its environmental impact. A key element in achieving this is the wider introduction of sustainable aviation fuel. Neste is investing as we speak to increase SAF production capacity from 100k metric tonnes to 1.5 m metric tonnes annually in 2023. Neste welcomes government proposals to encourage the use of SAF to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions. It is important that more and more airlines, airports and fuel suppliers lead the way to a more sustainable future for aviation. We are happy to welcome easyJet, Q8Aviation and Gatwick Airport among these frontrunners. "

Duncan Storey, Vice President, Supply Aviation Europe at World Fuel Services said:

"We congratulate easyJet and Gatwick Airport's vision to expand beyond SAF and to decarbonise the aircraft turnaround. We’re committed to helping every customer reach their sustainability goals. For easyJet, we designed and sourced an electric hydrant dispenser. Previously for Gatwick Airport, we provided Airport Carbon Accreditation consulting. World Fuel is unique because we can provide end-to-end solutions in-house through our sustainability division, World Kinect Energy Services."

Alaska Airlines launches investment arm to accelerate net zero progress

Alaska Airlines launched (18-Oct-2021) a new limited liability company, Alaska Star Ventures (ASV), to advance emerging technology that will accelerate its progress toward net zero carbon emissions.

The company has partnered with EP Partners, an early stage investor in sustainable, multi dimensional mobility technologies, for the inaugural investment by ASV.

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci stated: "To live our purpose and create an airline people love, we must operate every day in a way that cares for both people and the environment". [more - original PR]

Original report: Alaska Airlines launches investment arm to accelerate progress to net zero

Today, Alaska Airlines announced the formation of a new LLC, Alaska Star Ventures, to advance emerging technology that will accelerate the airline's progress toward net zero carbon emissions. 

"To live our purpose and create an airline people love, we must operate every day in a way that cares for both people and the environment," said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. "To do that, we are seeking technologies that will accelerate our mission to build a more sustainable future for the aviation industry." 

For the inaugural investment by Alaska Star Ventures, the company partnered with UP.Partners, an early-stage investor in sustainable, multi-dimensional mobility technologies that are transforming the moving world.  

"The future of aviation is a collaborative effort between founders, funders, builders and key stakeholders - like Alaska Airlines," said Cyrus Sigari, UP.Partners' co-founder and managing partner. "With transportation as the underlying fabric of society, selective and values-driven investments that move the industry toward sustainable aviation are key. We're proud to partner with such a mission-aligned group that is launching today: Alaska Star Ventures." 

"We're proud of our ambitious targets and our legacy of being pioneers, but we also know we can't fundamentally decarbonize and achieve net zero carbon emissions alone," said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines' vice president of public affairs and sustainability. "That's why we're focused on discovering, partnering with, and enabling technologies that will allow us to take real and meaningful steps on our five-part path to net zero now and in the years ahead. We're thrilled to partner with UP.Partners on our first project and are fortunate to have aviation veteran Pasha Saleh leading corporate development to successfully launch and grow this initiative." 

Alaska announced in April its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 with a five-part strategy to decarbonize. Alaska's deployment of Flyways, artificial intelligence and machine learning software that supports our dispatchers' route optimization efforts, inspired the pursuit of additional technologies to accelerate our path to net zero and enable efforts of Alaska employees across our system. 

The company's commitments to reduce its impact on carbon, waste and water build on a track record of progress in environmental sustainability including industry-leading onboard recycling, eliminating plastic straws and stir sticks, enabling touchless and paper-less guest experiences through technology, advancing the use of sustainable aviation fuels, and partnering with the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program to evaluate and test sustainability-focused technology. 

Manchester Airports Group and CarbonClick launch carbon offsetting initiative

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) launched (19-Oct-2021) a carbon offsetting scheme for passengers, in collaboration with CarbonClick.

The initiative allows travellers to purchase carbon credits to compensate for emissions from their flights, calculated using CarbonClick's offset tool.

Donations will fund the development of new woodland in the Lake District and carbon reduction projects in Nigeria.

CarbonClick also runs similar schemes with Fraport Slovenija, Galapagos Islands Seymour Airport, Etihad Airways and Air Tahiti Nui

MAG CSR and airspace change director Neil Robinson stated: "By offsetting emissions from their flights, passengers can make a real difference to worthwhile projects which support a sustainable future...High quality carbon offsetting is just one of the tools available to our industry as we work towards a greener future". [more - original PR]

Original report: UK’s largest airport group announces carbon offsetting scheme for passengers with CarbonClick

  • Passengers at ManchesterLondon Stansted and East Midlands airports can now offset carbon emissions from flights they take to any destination, with any airline via an easy online process
  • Offsetting will fund the development of new woodland in the Lake District and carbon-reduction projects in Nigeria
  • MAG has been ranked the number one airport operator in Europe in the GRESB Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rating programme
  • The UK’s largest group of airports also publishes its annual CSR Report today, in which it details its commitment to a sustainable recovery from the pandemic

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) today announced it will provide passengers at all three of its airports the ability to offset the carbon emissions from their flights in a new partnership with CarbonClick.

CarbonClick’s voluntary offset tool allows passengers, regardless of their airline or destination, to quickly calculate the emissions from their flight and purchase carbon credits to compensate for them. Every purchase can be immediately linked directly to the high-quality climate projects that CarbonClick supports in the UK and abroad.

For example, a return flight to Amsterdam from Manchester Airport can be offset for £2.14 per passenger and a return flight to Dubai for £11.54 per passenger. Each offset will be split equally between two causes: the UK-based “Woodland Creation in the Lake District” on Lowther Estate, Cumbria, which promotes biodiversity and reduces carbon and the risk of flooding and “Promoting Improved Cooking Practices”, which makes and distributes efficient charcoal cookstoves. Use of the stoves reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and will improve the health of communities in Nigeria.

Buying one carbon offset credit removes the equivalent of one tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere. This means that one passenger’s return flight to Amsterdam would require 0.145 of a carbon credit, which will remove approximately 145kg of CO2 from the atmosphere, while a return flight to Dubai would need the equivalent of 0.836 carbon credits to be offset, removing approximately 836kg of CO2.

Accredited, high-quality carbon offsetting is just one tool immediately available to the aviation sector as it moves towards a more sustainable future and works to support the reduction in overall CO2 levels from the atmosphere.

Today’s announcement comes as MAG publishes its latest annual CSR Report, detailing the Group’s work over the last 12 months in tackling climate change and supporting communities. In the report, MAG reaffirms its commitment to becoming a Net Zero Carbon business by 2038. The report also documents other achievements including reaching 58% of energy used by the Group coming from renewable sources, 93% of waste diverted from landfill, delivering more than 23,000 hours of volunteering work by MAG colleagues over the last 12 months, and making available more than £253,000 from its Community Trust Funds to support communities throughout the pandemic. The report is available here.

Alongside this, the UK’s largest airport group has been ranked the highest performing European airport operator in GRESB’s annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings published last week. GRESB provides investors and financial institutions with an overview of how organisations manage and perform against key environmental, social and governance issues. The latest ratings identify MAG as a ‘sector leader’ in the impact of its sustainability policies across the Group.

The CarbonClick offsetting scheme is available at all of MAG’s airports - Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands – and can be accessed via each airport’s website, or through QR codes displayed around terminal buildings.

MAG’s partner CarbonClick is a leading carbon offsetting organisation based in New Zealand and has to date worked with more than 760 businesses. The company is also partnered with Fraport Slovenija and Galapagos Ecological Airport in delivering carbon offsetting, as well as Etihad Airways and Air Tahiti Nui.

Neil Robinson, MAG CSR and Airspace Change Director, said: “By offsetting emissions from their flights, passengers can make a real difference to worthwhile projects which support a sustainable future.

“Our partnership with CarbonClick makes carbon offsetting easy and accessible regardless of which airline you are travelling with or your final destination.

“High quality carbon offsetting is just one of the tools available to our industry as we work towards a greener future. We are confident this partnership will encourage our passengers to opt in and have a positive impact every time they fly with us.”

Dave Rouse, CarbonClick CEO said: "CarbonClick is delighted to be working with Manchester Airports Group, who are showing true environmental leadership, offering its passengers an easy and accessible scheme to compensate for the emissions generate by their flights.

“Travellers are becoming increasingly concerned about carbon emissions from their flights. Although most travellers are willing to offset their flight, the majority of passengers worldwide fly with airlines that don't offer carbon offsetting. The MAG solution helps all travellers to do so in a simple, meaningful way with complete transparency.”

The introduction of passenger carbon offsetting is just one of a range of actions as part of MAG’s sustainability programme. In its five-year CSR Strategy published last year, the Group stated its industry leading commitment to becoming a Net Zero Carbon business by 2038, and announced a prize of five years free landing fees worth over £1m to the first zero emission aircraft based at MAG airport.

MAG was the first airport group in the UK to be certified carbon neutral in 2016 and was earlier this year named in the top 30 of the Financial Times ‘Climate Leaders Report’ out of 300 European companies. The Group is also one of only two airport operators to sit on the Government’s Jet Zero Council, which is working with Ministers and the wider sector to achieve a Net Zero industry by 2050.

Aeroporti di Roma commences sustainable aviation fuel supply at Rome Fiumicino Airport

Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) commenced (15-Oct-2021) using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on some services from Rome Fiumicino Airport, as part of the strategic agreement signed with Eni Aviation.

As previously reported by CAPA, the parties entered a decarbonisation partnership in Sep-2021.

ADR CEO Marco Troncone urged the Government to implement policy to incentivise a "rapid increase" in SAF production and guarantee cost levels are "compatible with the market", in order to ensure SAFs are available to all carriers that request it. [more - original PR]

Original report: ADR: Fiumicino first airport in Italy to make sustainable aviation fuel available

Fiumicino airport is the first airport in Italy to make SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) available, a blend of traditional Jet with a biogenic component, the latter capable of reducing CO2 emissions by 60-90%.

Fiumicino airport is the first airport in Italy to make SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) available, a blend of traditional Jet with a biogenic component, the latter capable of reducing CO2 emissions by 60-90%.

Thanks to the strategic agreement signed between ADR and Eni, the new ITA company has been able to use SAF on some flights from the first day of operations. It is a further acceleration of Aeroporti di Roma in terms of sustainability after Fiumicino airport obtained, as the first airport in Europe, the highest certification Airport Carbon Accreditation 4+ "Transition" issued by ACI Europe, in line with the goal of eliminating its greenhouse gas emissions already by 2030, well in advance of the original sector targets, declared last year and set in the Sustainability-Linked Bond issued last April.

The agreement with Eni, which allowed SAF to be distributed in record time in Fiumicino with a view to further dissemination in the short term, provides for the definition of a joint programme for the development of sustainable mobility services and distribution to end customers, as well as for the decarbonisation of land vehicles and energy integration projects, in line with the most advanced transition and digitalisation models.

“The decarbonisation of the sector” said CEO of Aeroporti di Roma, Marco Troncone - is an absolute priority, and immediate answers and concrete actions are needed: for the reduction of air traffic emissions the answer today is SAF and, thanks to the partnership with Eni, its diffusion begins today in Fiumicino. We are happy that ITA represents a new element also on the green front, with the use of SAF in Fiumicino as early as on the day of its debut. It is a significant sign of the desire to implement innovative, sustainable and truly effective solutions for the recovery of a strategic sector for our territory and for the Country. The challenge now is to ensure that the supply of sustainable fuel can soon be an option available to all carriers that request it: to this end, it will be essential to put in place an incentive policy for a rapid increase in production and to guarantee cost levels that are compatible with the market.”

Rolls-Royce completes test of Trent 1000 engine using 100% SAF

Rolls-Royce completed (19-Oct-2021) a test flight of its Boeing 747 flying testbed aircraft using a Trent 1000 engine powered by 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The flight was 3hr 54min in duration. Initial inspection found no engineering issues.

Technical support and oversight on aircraft modifications were provided by Boeing, while World Energy provided the fuel.

The test follows an announcement from Rolls-Royce earlier in Oct-2021 confirming that all Trent engines will be 100% SAF compatible by 2023. [more - original PR]

Original report: Rolls-Royce joins Boeing and World Energy for successful 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel flight

Rolls-Royce, working with Boeing and World Energy, has carried out a successful test flight of its 747 Flying Testbed aircraft using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on a Trent 1000 engine.

The aircraft flew from Tucson airport in Arizona, passing over New Mexico and Texas, with a Trent 1000 engine running solely on 100% SAF while the remaining three RB211 engines ran on standard jet fuel, arriving back at the airport three hours and 54 minutes later. Initial indications confirm there were no engineering issues, providing further proof of the fuel’s suitability for commercial use.

Rolls-Royce has continued to pioneer the adoption of 100% SAF, and validation of this test adds to those already carried out on its Trent XWB and Pearl engines, both on the ground and in the air. Last week it confirmed that all of its Trent engines will be compatible with 100% SAF by 2023 and also called for further ambition and collaboration across the aviation sector, and with governments, to enable the transition of long-haul aviation towards net zero ahead of aviation goals set by the UN Race to Zero.

Aircraft are currently only certified to operate on a maximum of 50% SAF blended with conventional jet fuel and Rolls-Royce continues to support efforts to certificate non-blended SAF. This is particularly important to support sustainability in long-distance air travel, which will require the power density of gas turbines for years to come.

The flight was carried out in close collaboration with Boeing, which provided technical support and oversight on aircraft modifications and assurance the aircraft systems would operate as expected with 100% SAF. World Energy, the world’s first and America’s only commercial-scale SAF production company, provided the low-carbon fuel for the flight.

The need to significantly increase the production of SAF was recognised recently by the US Biden administration with the launch of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to produce three billion gallons of the fuel a year by 2030. This will form part of a wider aviation climate action plan to be released in the coming months. The European Commission has also created a ReFuelEU Aviation proposal that would mandate the incorporation of SAF supplied at EU airports. This would increase to 63% by 2050.

Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce, Director Product Development and Technology – Civil Aerospace, said: “We believe in air travel as a force for cultural good, but we also recognise the need to take action to decarbonise our industry. This flight is another example of collaboration across the value chain to make sure all the aircraft technology solutions are in place to enable a smooth introduction of 100% SAF into our industry.”

Sheila Remes, Vice President of Environmental Sustainability, Boeing, said: “It is an honour to partner with Rolls-Royce and World Energy on this 100% SAF flight. Its success further illustrates that SAF can fully replace conventional jet fuel over the long term and is a viable renewable energy solution to decarbonise aviation over the next 20-30 years.”

Gene Gebolys, CEO, World Energy, said: “As the world’s first and U.S.’s only SAF producer, we’re grateful for the trailblazing work our partners are doing. Rolls-Royce’s work to prove the viability of powering the jet engines they make with the 100% renewable SAF we make lays the groundwork for fossil fuel-free flight. This work is incredibly important, and we applaud and appreciate Rolls-Royce for working with us to do it.”

The Rolls-Royce Flying Testbed is used to carry out a variety of engine-related tests that improve efficiency and durability, as well as support our decarbonisation strategy.

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