As a leader in the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), the Air France-KLM Group is reaffirming its commitment in making the aviation sector more sustainable, and is taking a decisive step forward by signing the first set of long-term supply agreements to cover the SAF needs of its airlines for the coming years.
The agreements cover the supply of a total volume of 1.6 million tons of sustainable aviation fuel between 2023 and 2036, which will avoid 4.7 million tons emissions of CO2 on full lifecycle basis compared to fossil fuels.
First Air France-KLM partners are:
– Neste: supplying one million tonmes over the period 2023 to 2030.
– DG Fuels: supplying 600.000 tonmes over the period 2027 to 2036.
Partnership discussions are currently underway to add additional suppliers with the aim of gradually establishing a diversified network capable of meeting the supply needs worldwide.
Fully committed to reducing its environmental impact, the Air France-KLM Group aims to reduce its CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 30% by 2030 compared to 2019 – a target which has been submitted to SBTi. Its decarbonisation trajectory factors in the incorporation of 10% SAF by 2030, alongside fleet renewal and eco-piloting. These contracts represent a first step by the Group towards achieving its 10% SAF incorporation targets by 2030 and will cover approximately 3 of the 10% SAF requirements.
By committing to long-term fuel purchases now, Air France-KLM supports the development of the SAF production industry, which is still in its infancy worldwide (in 2021, SAF production represented 0.01% of the jet fuel consumed worldwide), resulting in prices 3 to 4 times higher compared to conventional kerosene. By increasing use and demand, Air France-KLM aims to play its part in increasing the scale of commercial SAF production for wider adoption by 2030.
These significant off-take agreements made by Air France-KLM are key to the Group’s decarbonisation commitments. The efforts will be reinforced by additional environmental commitments in the coming years (new SAF contracts, R&D on e-fuels or hydrogens, Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS), etc.). However, the global objective of zero net emissions by 2050 can only be achieved if all public and private parties work together to make this transition a success. This could involve incentive mechanisms, such as those already in place in the United States and notably in the state of California.
“Decarbonisation is the biggest challenge the aviation industry has ever faced. Air France-KLM is activating all available levers to reduce its environmental impact: fleet renewal, eco-piloting, and the increased use of certified Sustainable Aviation Fuels”, said Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM. “The contracts we have signed embody our long-term commitment to the development of SAF production capabilities around the world, to the benefit of the industry as a whole. We look forward to working with Neste and DG Fuels, with whom we have established solid partnerships which will pave the way to the creation of a global network of providers capable of meeting our future needs.”
An essential lever
Sustainable aviation fuels are one of the most promising ways of reducing CO2 emissions in the aviation industry, next to reducing fuel use. SAF can reduce CO2 emissions by an average of 80% compared to conventional fuel on a life cycle basis and does not require any engine modifications. The current generation of SAF can be made from used cooking oil, waste, and agricultural and forestry residues. In the future, synthetic sustainable aviation fuels will also become available, made from hydrogen and captured carbon.
Air France-KLM has established a strict sourcing policy under which it commits itself only to purchase SAF that does not compete with human food or animal feed supply, that are RSB or ISCC+ certified for their sustainability, and that are not derived from palm oil.
Air France-KLM is also incorporating up to 1% SAF on a one-year overall for its flights from France and the Netherlands, in order for instance to comply with the French legislation in force since January 2022.
AFKLMP: leader in the use of sustainable aviation fuel
The Air France-KLM Group has been investing in the testing and use of sustainable aviation fuel for more than 15 years. In 2011, KLM conducted the world’s first commercial flight partially fuelled with SAF, while Air France launched the ‘Lab Line for the Future’ in 2014, a two-year experiment during which 78 flights between Paris-Orly and Toulouse and between Paris-Orly and Nice were partially fuelled with sustainable aviation fuel.
Air France-KLM also supports the development of a production chain in France and the Netherlands. In 2020, Air France worked together with Airbus, Safran, Suez and Total to promote the growth of the SAF production chain in France. The following year, Air France operated its first long-haul flight fuelled by SAF produced entirely in France, while KLM operated the world’s first commercial flight with synthetic fuel produced in the Netherlands.
In June this year, several SAF-powered flights were operated by all of the Group’s airlines as part of the ‘Connecting Europe Days’ organized by the European Commission.