Last Tuesday, Norwegian – the second largest airline in Scandinavia and the third largest low-cost airline in Europe with approximately 4500 employees – carried out its first ever flight with biofuel. Norwegian’s flight DY631 from Bergen to Oslo took off with almost 50 percent biofuel; a flight that emits over 40 percent less than an average flight with regular fuel.
Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Tine Sundtoft, was among the passengers on board this milestone flight together with Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos.
“The aircraft was filled with sustainable biofuel and emitted a total of 3178 kg – or 40 grams per passenger kilometre. Older aircraft with traditional fuels emit 5786 kg, which is 74 grams per passenger kilometre on the same stretch. In other words, this flight, with 50 percent biofuel, has over 40 percent less emissions than an average flight with normal fuel”, Norwegian said in a note.
“At Norwegian, we are keen to make aviation more environmentally friendly. We have a clear goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent per passenger in the period 2008 to 2015. The most significant improvement is our new aircraft, and Norwegian’s fleet is among the newest and most environmentally friendly in Europe. But this is not enough. Sustainable biofuel is also an important measure. This biofuel flight from Bergen to Oslo is an important milestone in the industry’s shared commitment to make sustainable biofuel more easily available for airlines,” said Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos.
Through the development of new technologies and frameworks, Norwegian wants to help make aviation carbon neutral by 2050.
Sustainable aviation biofuels (“biojet fuels”) are one of the most promising solutions to meet the industry’s ambitious carbon emissions reduction goals. They allow airlines to reduce their carbon footprint, ease their dependence on fossil fuels, and offset the risks associated with the high volatility of oil and fuel prices.
According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), between 2008 and 2011, at least ten airlines and several aircraft manufacturers performed flight tests with various blends containing up to 50% biojet fuel. These tests demonstrated that biojet fuel was technically sound, and the following observations were made: no modifications to the aircraft were required, biojet fuel could be blended with conventional fuel, the engine powered on the biojet mix even showed an improvement in fuel efficiency in some cases. Among the airlines involved: KLM, Lufthansa, Finnair, Interjet, Aeroméxico, Iberia, Thomson Airways, Air France, United Airlines, Air China, Alaska Airlines, Thai Airways, LAN, Qantas, Jetstar, Etihad, Porter, Gol and Air Canada.