World’s first scheduled passenger biofuel flights commence

Lufthansa and Airbus make significant step forward towards sustainable aviation .

Lufthansa has launched the world’s first ever daily commercial passenger flights using biofuel. The four return daily flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt will be the first in the world to use a biofuel blend using 50% Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA).This follows the approval for the use of this type of fuel by the world fuels standards body, the ASTM on July 1st and the publication of the approved standards on July 13th.

The aircraft is an Airbus A321, equipped with IAE engines (International Aero Engines). Airbus’ role is to provide technical assistance and to monitor the fuel properties. The daily flights will initially continue for six months as part of the ‘Burn Fair’ R&T project to study the long term impact of sustainable biofuels on aircraft performance.

“Lufthansa is the world’s first airline to utilise biofuel in daily flight operations. This is a further consistent step in the sustainability strategy, which Lufthansa has for years been successfully pursuing. We want to secure future sustainable mobility by conducting research and development work today,” said Christoph Franz, Lufthansa CEO.

“Fuel quality is a critical issue in aviation. Neste Oil’s NExBTL technology is very well-suited to producing aviation fuel that meets the aviation industry’s toughest quality standard,” says Matti Lievonen, Neste Oil's President and CEO. “Being a pioneer in this area, we are very proud to co-operate with Airbus and Lufthansa. We believe that renewable aviation fuels have real potential for the future.”

“Airbus is proud of its role as catalyst in bringing together various stakeholders to speed up the commercialization of biofuels. These daily biofuel flights are a significant step forward in our industry-wide pursuit of a sustainable future for aviation,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO.

The renewable aviation biofuel, is being provided by Finland-based Neste Oil and all of the renewable raw materials used to produce it (NExBTL) comply with the EU’s stringent sustainability criteria and are fully traceable back to their source.

Airbus’ alternative fuels roadmap aims to make aviation biofuel a reality by bringing together stakeholders in a ‘value chain’ to speed up its commercialisation in a socially responsible way. By providing technical expertise and data collected from a series of alternative fuel flights, Airbus has been at the forefront helping obtain today’s 50% biofuel approval.

Airbus has helped set up five value chain projects with airlines, stakeholders and refiners around the world to help speed up the commercialisation of aviation biofuels with a target to have one in every continent by 2012.

Airbus has been instrumental in the approval of 50% Fischer Tropsch fuels (in June 2009) and Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids - HEFA (in July 2011), through efforts with airlines, around the world. These include Latin America’s first biofuel flight, the world’s first commercial flight using 50% blended GTL, and in February 2008, the world’s first Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) flight using an A380 commercial airliner.


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