On 23 November 2009, KLM operated the world’s first demonstration flight with passengers on board using sustainable biofuel. On this flight, one engine ran on a mix of 50% biofuel made from camelina.
The first flight on biofuel was quickly followed by a 6 months programme of sustainable jet fuel flights between Amsterdam and Paris. On the 29th of June in 2011, KLM operated the first commercial flight on sustainable jet fuel from Amsterdam to Paris with 171 passengers on board. The fuel used on this flight was made from used cooking oil. Starting September, a series of flights was operated on this route. These first flights were an important step to achieve our mutual objective to make sustainable jet fuel available in suitable quantities at a competitive price without any compromise on sustainability.
On the 19th of June in 2012, KLM made its first-ever transatlantic KLM flight fuelled partly by sustainable biofuels. The destination? The Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, where governments and commercial partners meet to make new agreements in the area of sustainability. This is the longest distance any aircraft has flown on sustainable biofuels. A world première that was made possible by the partnership between KLM, SkyNRG and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. With this flight, KLM and SkyNRG launched the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme. It is currently one of the most important efforts in the world to stimulate further development in sustainable biomass production, conversion technologies and supply chain development.
On the 8th of March in 2013, KLM and SkyNRG launched the first transatlantic series of flights on sustainable jet on the route between New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Every Thursday flight KL642, operated by a Boeing 777, used sustainable jet fuel made from used cooking oil.
During the launch of this flight, we proudly announced the participation of 7 new corporate clients, partners that made the operation of these flights possible. Next to our earliest corporate partners – Ahold, Heineken, Accenture, DSM, Philips, Nike and Schiphol Group – we welcomed Loyens & Loeff, Amsterdam Municipality, PGGM, CBRE, FMO, Siemens and TomTom. All these corporations have joined the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme, and in doing so they contribute to a long term sustainable future for aviation. Together with the support of these corporate partners, we intend to fly even more frequently on sustainable jet fuel on this route. Above all we hope this will serve as a blue print for new sustainable jet fuel routes to be opened up.
On 16 May 2014, we launched a new series of flights using sustainable biofuel. For six months, 20 flights between Amsterdam and Aruba and Bonaire will be operated with an Airbus A330-200 powered by biofuel. This is yet another important step towards proving that more sustainable aviation is possible.
The use of sustainable biofuels is not the only way to make aviation more sustainable. Flying with lighter materials and more efficient aircraft with greater engine capacity, as on the routes to Aruba and Bonaire, also helps to reduce CO2-emissions. Consequently, we are making gains on several fronts at once in our bid for cleaner aviation.
The biofuel used in this series of flights was developed by ITAKA* and supplied by SkyNRG. ITAKA is a consortium of leading aerospace and fuel companies. Together they produce and test sustainable, renewable biofuels for use in aviation, for which they receive funding from the European Commission.
On March 22 2016, KLM launched a series of around 80 biofuel flights from Oslo to Amsterdam operated with an EMBRAER 190. The remaining flights were operated over the forthcoming period of five to six weeks, marking yet another step in the right direction towards making aviation more sustainable. What’s more, Embraer conducted measurements during these flights to gauge the efficiency of biofuel in comparison with kerosene.
The flights departed from Oslo Airport (Avinor), the first airport to supply biofuel directly from its hydrant system since January this year. In addition to biofuel supplied from the hydrant system, biofuel will also be delivered by separate fuel trucks for the series of flights operated by KLM Cityhopper. Biofuel has to be supplied by fuel trucks for these flights in order to measure the efficiency of biofuel in comparison with kerosene during the Embraer flights.
The biofuel for this series of flights was produced from 100% RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials) certified camelina oil and in full compliance with the EU RED standard. The biofuel is produced within the ITAKA (Initiative Towards SustAinable Kerosene for Aviation) project and supplied by Air BP and SkyNRG. The ITAKA consortium was founded by leading companies operating in the airline and fuel industries. Together, they are working on producing and testing sustainable biofuel in the airline industry. In achieving this goal, they receive financial support from the European Commission.
The biofuel flights are partly funded by the partners in the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme: ABN AMRO, Accenture, CBRE Global Investors, FMO, FrieslandCampina, City of Amsterdam, Heineken, Loyens & Loeff, PGGM, Perfetti Van Melle and the Schiphol Group.