by: Harry Johnson | copyright: eTurboNews – Travel Industry News – World Travel News
As the global aviation sector enters the new year, here are the latest updates from the industry around #FlyNetZero and the journey to decarbonize the airline industry.
As the airline industry turned to 2023, in Europe, the NATO pipeline supplying Brussels Airport with kerosene was opened on 1 January for the transport of SAF. Brussels Airlines transported the very first batch of sustainable aviation fuel transported via this route on the same day at Brussels Airport. Teesside International Airport has collaborated with Air France-KLM on the airline’s SAF program, becoming the first UK airport to do so.
On the other side of the pond, The US Department of Energy announced over $100m in funding to expand US biofuels production, as the Biden administration works to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and meet climate goals, the department said.
The Department plans to award $118m to 17 projects designed to accelerate the production of biofuels. In the State of Illinois, state lawmakers have approved legislation to create a $1.50/USG SAF tax credit that airlines can use to satisfy all or part of their state use tax liabilities. The legislation will create a tax credit for every gallon of SAF sold to or used by an air carrier in Illinois. Honeywell recently received its first delivery of SAF at its Phoenix Engines campus to support development and production testing of auxiliary power units (APUs) and propulsion engines at the site, along with testing of fielded units from Honeywell’s repair and overhaul facility.
In the Middle East, Masdar, ADNOC, bp, Tadweer (Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company) and Etihad Airways announced an agreement to conduct a joint feasibility study on production of SAF and other products in the UAE, such as renewable diesel and naphtha, using municipal solid waste (MSW) and renewable hydrogen. Meanwhile, Emirates successfully completed the ground engine testing for one of its GE90 engines on a Boeing 777-300ER using 100% SAF. Newly-established Saudi Arabian lessor AviLease has reached a provisional agreement with the Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) for production and distribution of sustainable fuel in the country.
In Asia, Asiana Airlines announced entering an agreement with Shell to secure SAF from 2026. Japan’s two leading air carriers, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, have agreed to source SAF from US producer Raven in deals involving Tokyo-based trading house Itochu. The airlines will buy SAF that Raven aims to produce commercially as early as 2025, using it on international flights.
Following a $175m agreement with Aviation Partners Boeing (APB), Ryanair installed Split Scimitar Winglets to the first of over 400 of its Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft. This modification will improve aircraft fuel efficiency by up to 1.5%, reducing Ryanair’s annual fuel consumption by 65 million liters and carbon emissions by 165,000 tonnes. Finnish airport company Finavia has published its new sustainability targets that include reducing carbon emissions to “nearly zero”. Wizz Air reported that its average carbon emissions for 2022 amounted to 55.2 grams per passenger/km, 15.4% lower than in 2021. This represents its lowest ever annual carbon intensity result recorded in one calendar year.
Electric and hydrogen propulsion
Sweden has pledged to invest at least SKr15m ($1.4m) each year into research and innovation activities to support the rapid adoption of electric aircraft in the country. In addition, the Swedish government has commissioned an analysis on whether it is feasible to mandate the use of electric-powered aircraft on public service obligation (PSO) routes.
“Learning how to safely fly hydrogen-powered aircraft will be the challenge of a generation” said Christopher Raymond, Boeing’s CSO, in an op-ed in Fortune, noting that it is unlikely that we will see an aircraft fly on hydrogen before 2050 and need to focus on availability and price of SAF: “The world must scale sustainable aviation fuels that can be dropped into existing aircraft today, while exploring decarbonized propulsion technologies like hydrogen and electricity that can make an impact in the second half of the century.”
NASA and Boeing will work together on the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project to build, test and fly an emission-reducing single-aisle aircraft this decade. NASA has signed a funded Space Act Agreement with Boeing under which it is to provide $425 million in funding through milestone payments while Boeing and its industry partners contribute $725 million. A yearlong flight-test campaign is planned to begin at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, California, in 2028.
Delta Air Lines is launching an airline innovation lab to accelerate research, design and testing for a more sustainable future of air travel. Delta Sustainable Skies Lab will feature ongoing work across Delta today, inspire disruptive industry innovation, and scale known tech and actions to reach Delta’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
Pegasus Airlines closed the first ever sustainability-linked aircraft-secured term loan for the financing of ten new Airbus A321neo aircraft. Air France-KLM raised €1bn from landmark sustainability-linked bond from its debut sustainability-linked bond (SLB), believed to be the first Euro-denominated bond of this type in the public market from an airline.
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