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Emissions reduction through investment and innovation – Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel Initiative

On May 18, 2019, a global coalition of business aviation organizations behind the sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) initiative joined at TAG Farnborough Airport in the United Kingdom (UK). Aircraft from major manufacturers, such as Bombardier, Gulfstream, Cirrus, Embraer, Piaggio, Dassault, and Textron Aviation, fuelled up on SAJF at airports across Europe and the United States (US) for demonstration flights showcasing the viability of sustainable alternative jet fuels.

TAG Farnborough Airport in the UK is an award-winning private complete portfolio business aviation service provider – fixed base operator (FBO) – belonging to Switzerland-headed TAG Aviation  (photo courtesy TAG Aviation).

TAG Farnborough Airport in the UK is an award-winning private complete portfolio business aviation service provider – fixed base operator (FBO) – belonging to Switzerland-headed TAG Aviation  (photo courtesy TAG Aviation).

Since the launch of the Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF) initiative and Business Aviation Guide to the Use of Sustainable Alternative Fuel in 2018, the SAJF initiative and the Business Aviation Commitment to Climate Change have gained global momentum.

Welcoming guests at the event, European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) Secretary-General, Athar Husain Khan, remarked that Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuels (SAJF) are “key in attaining our goals laid out in the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change”.

We stand ready and extend our hand to regulators, operators and media alike to help advise, inform and educate on the use of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF), our commitment on Climate Change and our ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental impact, said Athar Husain Khan.

An EU SEW event

Participating in the EU Sustainable Energy Week (SEW) under the theme “Shaping the EU’s Energy Future,” global business aviation and community leaders discussed the path forward for the continued adoption of SAJF in Europe during a day-long, multifaceted event.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels and airframe and engine technology improvements are key to aviation minimising its carbon footprint. Business aviation aircraft have no alternative to liquid fuel in the near and mid-term and in this regard SAF is the most promising near-term option. Already thousands of commercial flights have demonstrated that these fuels can work. The problem is, the cost of production is still too high for aircraft operators. The challenge of industry and above all governments is to establish clear long-term policy frameworks and find a way of funding transition costs of what is essentially a huge technological change in order to achieve the ICAO 2050 Vision for Sustainable Aviation Fuels, said Eamonn Brennan, Director General, EUROCONTROL.

Aircraft from major manufacturers, such as Bombardier, Gulfstream, Cirrus, Embraer, Piaggio, Dassault, and Textron Aviation, fuelled up on SAJF at airports across Europe and the United States (US) – including TAG Farnborough Airport, England (EGLF); Caen – Carpiquet Airport, France (LFRK); Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden (ESSA); and Republic Airport, Farmingdale, NY (KFRG) at Sheltair – for demonstration flights showcasing the viability of sustainable alternative jet fuel.

With shared urgency, virtually all sectors across civil aviation are identifying opportunities and creating new paths to lowering emissions, be it through developing more efficient products or adopting new ways of operating. Business aviation shares this same commitment, and SAJF, represents an available and tangible solution that can make a measurable and impactful difference right now, said David Coleal, Chairman, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Environment Committee and President, Bombardier Aviation.

SAJF has been made available at these airports specifically for aircraft manufacturers and operators to collectively fly-in to Europe’s annual meeting place for the business aviation community, the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland.

As the first business aviation airport in the world to achieve certified carbon neutrality, we are proud to be hosting and participating in today’s event and welcome this initiative to provide Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuels. Along with our customers, we are eager to see efficient and cost-effective availability of this fuel, said Brandon O’Reilly, CEO of TAG Farnborough Airport, in his opening address.

The event clearly demonstrated three key points:

  • SAJF is safe and does not impact aircraft performance;
  • SAJF offers great impact and benefits to the airport and the community, including reduced particulate matter (PM);
  • SAJF reflects the commitment by business aviation to aircraft carbon reduction.

Business aviation sector commitment

Kurt Edwards, International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) Director General remarked that business aviation continues to show the world its commitment to mitigating its contribution to climate change.

Fuelling the Future at Farnborough demonstrates the industry’s strong interest in sustainable aviation fuel, an innovative technology available now. The initiative supports the 2009 Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change and similar global efforts with other industry sectors and the International Civil Aviation Organization. Use of sustainable aviation fuels is a critical measure to address the global challenge of climate change, Edwards said.

Ed Bolen, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO commented the business aviation community has a “long and successful history of innovation when it comes to reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuels are a key element in this important effort, in Europe and beyond.”

According to Gary Dempsey, President, National Air Transportation Authority (NATA), the SAJF message is being spread far and wide thanks to an ever-growing coalition of aviation business stakeholders. Initiatives showcasing SAJF, like the launch of The Business Aviation Guide to the Use of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel, the Business Jets Fuel Green event in Van Nuys, the Fuelling the Future event in Farnborough, and the activities in Geneva at EBACE are greatly moving the needle for education and awareness.

The focus now needs to be on making it easier for companies to produce SAJF to meet the demands of business jet owners. We urge our FBO and operator members worldwide to contact fuel suppliers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to answer any questions they may have regarding SAJF and to encourage its widespread use, said Gary Dempsey.

On the fuel distributor side Guy Sawyer, Senior Director of Global Physical Operations in Aviation for World Fuel Services Corporation noted that while SAJF is new to business aviation, “we all have a responsibility to help drive its acceptance and utilization. We wholeheartedly encourage the use of SAJF and believe the TAG Farnborough event will help its profile for the benefit of the industry and the world by reducing CO2 emissions and utilizing a sustainable fuel product.”

Our industry’s ambitious carbon reduction targets will only be achieved with support from across the entire supply chain. Initiatives like this give operators direct exposure to sustainable aviation fuel, helping us to overcome obstacles to its adoption. At Air BP we believe it is important to keep working with multiple suppliers, customers, and partners, and using expertise from across BP’s global organisation, to support the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel, said Irene Lores, Global Sales, and Marketing Director, General Aviation, Air BP.

Manager of Alternative Fuels for Avfuel Corporation Keith Sawyer said that Avfuel is “proud to support the SAJF initiative” with supply at FRG for more sustainable transatlantic flights to EBACE.

Our team is committed to helping the industry achieve its goals of carbon neutrality—along with coalition organization leaders—and is pleased with the demonstrative progress that’s been made this year to prove SAJF can become a viable option for the industry. To further this initiative, the Avfuel team’s working to secure greater SAJF supply to champion one of the largest hurdles yet to the initiative—availability—along with securing operator commitments for SAJF to encourage production through greater demand, Sawyer said.

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