Braathens Regional Airlines, Air BP, ATR and Neste collaborate to achieve the ‘Perfect Flight’

May 19, 2019 |

In Sweden, a “perfect flight” took off. What exactly is a “perfect flight”? For some of you, it might mean wingsuit flying done by daring humans but for Neste, it’s when “Every element of the flight management process has been optimised to keep carbon emissions to a minimum.”

So what made this regional flight from Halmstad City airport to Stockholm Bromma airport in Sweden so perfect?

First, sustainable aviation fuel, produced by Neste and supplied by Air BP, was used to power the ATR 72-600 – the regional aircraft with the best environmental credentials, according to Neste.

This is the first time that every element in the flight management process on a regional flight has been optimised to keep carbon emissions to a minimum and achieve the ‘Perfect Flight’. A full flight of seventy-two passengers, including international media, were on board the Braathens Regional Airlines ATR 72-600 turboprop, the regional aircraft with the best environmental credentials, which took one hour to reach its destination.”

According to ATR, the ATR 72-600 has an environmental advantage, in that it produces 40 percent fewer carbon emissions per trip compared with regional jets, saving 4,000 tons of carbon emissions per aircraft per year. ATRs can also take off and land where other aircraft cannot ensuring accessibility to all airfields, including those that are the most challenging.

The Perfect Flight was powered by sustainable aviation fuel supplied by Air BP and produced by Neste. The fuel supplied will produce up to 80 percent fewer emissions over its life-cycle compared with conventional jet fuel and is produced from non-palm renewable and sustainable raw materials. In addition, Air BP’s operations at Halmstad City airport are one of their over 250 locations that have been certified as carbon neutral since 2016.

Following the flight, a responsible aviation seminar was held at Stockholm Bromma airport where the crew shared the results of how the ‘Perfect Flight’ had been achieved. A host of experts shared their views including Peter Larsson – CEO of Sweden’s Regional Airports, Jonas Bergman – Mayor of Halmstad, Tom Anderson – ATR Senior Vice President, Programs and Customer Services, Anna Soltorp – Head of Sustainability, BRA and Tom Parsons, Air BP Commercial Development Manager, Low Carbon, and Andreas Teir, Neste’s Vice President in Renewable Transportation, Nordics.

Thoughts from thought leaders

From his seat on the Perfect Flight, Parsons said: “At Air BP we are committed to working across the industry to meet our collective carbon reduction goals. Today has highlighted what is possible when we all work together and we are proud to have been the supplier of sustainable aviation fuel for this perfect flight. We will continue to look for ways to reduce emissions in our own operations and for our customers.”

Meanwhile, Soltorp commented: “We want to continue to fly ‘perfectly’ in the future. To achieve this, it is important that we can access sustainable aviation fuel in sufficient quantities and at the right price. For that we need political initiatives. We intend to continue the development of sustainable flying to make every flight as close to perfect as we possibly can. As a society we need to take action to combat climate change and drastically reduce emissions, aviation must play its part in this. Today, we have demonstrated what can be achieved through more efficient flying without compromising connectivity. It is another positive step forward.”

Anderson added: “Today, using existing technology and available solutions, we have pushed the boundaries even further. This great achievement wouldn’t have been possible without using an ATR aircraft, as our ATR 72-600 version uses 40 percent less fuel and emits 40 percent less CO2 than a regional jet. We are delighted to have taken up this challenge and demonstrate what is possible, which will hopefully set an example for other communities around the world.”

Teir commented: “Aviation stakeholders in Sweden have adopted a proactive approach to show their commitment to reducing emissions from their operations by promoting the use of renewable jet fuel. Decarbonizing aviation calls for close cooperation between aviation stakeholders combined with a strong willingness to work collaboratively. We are proud of our partnership with Air BP in bringing sustainable jet fuel to Sweden, which sends a strong signal to the international aviation community also.”

Sweet Sweden

Sweden has a sweet spot for sustainable aviation. As a side note, Sweden as a country is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2045 so this falls in line with their goals. But it goes beyond Neste and sustainable aviation fuel.

Halmstad City Airport works carefully, dedicatedly and with set environmental and sustainability goals on a daily basis. It was one of the first airports in Sweden to offer customers biojet fuel, which was in June 2017. Also since then, all their ground vehicles used in their business at the airport are 100% fossil free.

As of April 1, 2019, Sweden’s Braathens Regional Airlines is the only commercial airline in the world to compensate for all emissions of GHG, included in the ticket fare. Braathens Regional Airlines offers all travelers the choice of fossil-free biofuel when booking the air travel. Already in 2009, the airline became the world’s first commercial airline, environmentally certified by ISO 14001.

Other Neste News

Neste had another big announcement over the weekend. They are working with Air BP to bring sustainable aviation fuel to Caen airport in France as well. Neste is producing the fuel and Air BP is supplying it to the airport.

Neste and Air BP are supporting the business aviation sector’s Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF) initiative and helping drive its adoption with operators and aircraft manufacturers. The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) will take place in Geneva on 21-23 May 2019, and European business aviation community has an option to refuel with sustainable aviation fuel at Caen airport in France.

“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 any obstacles in its adoption. At Air BP we believe it is important to keep working with multiple suppliers, customers and partners, and using expertise from across the global BP organisation, to support the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel,” said Irene Lores, global sales and marketing director, general aviation, Air BP.

“We are extremely happy to be able to offer sustainable aviation fuel to the business aviation community. In decreasing emissions from aviation, sustainable aviation fuel made from waste and residues represents the best viable drop-in alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering commercial aircraft. Collaborating with Air BP, we can find the best ways of developing robust supply chains to ensure that sustainable aviation fuel is more widely accessible to aviation customers”, says Peter Vanacker, Neste’s President and CEO.

Air BP has supplied its sustainable aviation fuel to commercial airlines customers at over 10 airport locations, including at Oslo airport in Norway, where together with Neste it was the first to supply sustainable aviation fuel through the existing airport fuelling infrastructure. In 2018 Bombardier’s demonstration fleet was refueled with BP Biojet in Stockholm Arlanda en-route to EBACE and Air BP has also supplied airlines on an ad-hoc basis at airports including Stockholm Bromma (BMA/ESSB), Karlstad (KSD/ESOK) and Göteborg Landvetter (GOT/ESGG).

Bottom Line

While some might say there is no such thing as perfect, thus no such thing as a “perfect flight,” it’s certainly is a good idea to reach for the stars. That sounds like what the aviation industry and Sweden are doing and it’s better to do something to work towards that perfection than nothing at all. It’s better to take action towards good than to be stuck doing nothing waiting for the perfect.

As for what the future holds, Neste is increasing renewable jet fuel production volumes significantly over the course of the next few years. Currently Neste is ramping up capacity to produce up to 100.000 tons per year total in the US and Europe. With the planned Singapore refinery expansion Neste will have the capacity to produce up to 1 million ton of low-emission renewable jet fuel by 2022.

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