Air France-KLM’s Dutch arm operated a passenger flight from Amsterdam to Madrid that the carrier says was the first in the world to use sustainably derived synthetic aviation fuel. The Boeing Co. 737-800 narrow-body plane carried 500 litres of the fuel produced by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, equating to more than five per cent of the total requirement for the trip, KLM said in a statement Monday. While flights partly powered by plant-derived biofuels have become commonplace as aviation seeks to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, fully synthetic propellants have taken longer to develop. KLM said the Madrid flight, which took place on Jan. 22, was groundbreaking in combining carbon capture with solar and wind power to produce a fully sustainable kerosene substitute. “The introduction of sustainable aviation fuel is very important to us,” KLM chief executive officer Pieter Elbers said in a webinar on SAF, where news of the flight was disclosed. “The captain informed the passengers that this was a big step for the industry. They didn’t notice any difference.” KLM also operated the first commercial service to use biofuel in 2011, powered by a 50:50 blend of kerosene and used cooking oil. Availability since then […]

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