Sustainable aviation reaches new heights

Two KLM flights departing from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol have set the record for using the most sustainable fuel on commercial flights.

The flights on 7 May to Edmonton, Canada, and Porto, Portugal, were operated by the two most economical planes in their fleets, the Boeing 787-10 and Embraer 190, and were both powered by a fuel blend of 39% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The Dutch airline also adopted all the possible sustainability measures during the flights, from taking the most efficient route to serving lighter utensils.

In addition, AI modelling was used to predict in-flight water requirements, so that the precise volume needed was on board. Loading was optimised to get the best centre of gravity, improving aerodynamics and saving fuel. Transport companies delivering cargo were also asked to use vehicles powered by electricity or biodiesel.

The flights formed part of the Sustainable Flight Challenge, initiated by KLM employees, to see how sustainability can be improved on everyday commercial, scheduled services.

The impact of these measures will be reviewed and potentially implemented on more flights.

René de Groot, KLM’s chief operating officer, said: “The great thing about the Sustainable Flight Challenge is first and foremost the enthusiasm among staff throughout KLM in putting forward their ideas on how this can be achieved. Another positive aspect is that the participating airlines have agreed to share the lessons they have learned, and that our customers as well as engine manufacturers, SAF producers and other partners have been involved. This spirit of cooperation makes greater sustainability possible and feasible.”

Amsterdam leads the charge on sustainable travel

Amsterdam is increasingly becoming a global hub for the sustainable aviation industry. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol itself has been steadily increasing its green credentials, including introducing electric powered taxibots to tow planes to the runway, to relying entirely on Dutch wind turbines for energy.

Neste, the world's leading producer of renewable jet fuel, has also found a home in Amsterdam. This week, the Finnish company signed a deal with major American airline United Airlines to use sustainable fuel from Amsterdam.

Read more business news from around Amsterdam.