On Tuesday, 11 November, Norwegian and SAS will perform the very first flights in Norway using biofuel. “We believe this is the future,” say the heads of the two companies.
At 16.15 and 16.20 respectively, SAS (SK317) and Norwegian (DY631) take off from Trondheim and Bergen with nearly 50 per cent biofuel in their tanks. When they land at Oslo Airport at 17.10 and 17.15, Norway’s first two biofuel-powered flights will be a fact. The flights are conventional scheduled flights.
“SAS has been working to speed up commercialisation of renewable fuel for more than ten years now. Even though we in SAS have reduced our total CO2 emissions by a full 13 per cent since 2005, biofuel will enable us to reduce those harmful emissions a great deal more as we are heading for a more sustainable aviation industry. This flight is proof that solutions can be found. The next step will be to create the conditions that allow this progress to be realised on a large scale in Scandinavia,” says Rickard Gustafson, CEO of SAS.
“Norwegian is keen to do everything possible to make aviation more environmentally friendly. Norwegian has a clear objective to reduce our CO2 emissions by 30 per cent per passenger between 2008 and 2015. The most important environmental measure is to have new aircraft, and Norwegian’s fleet is among the newest and most environment-friendly in Europe. New planes are not enough, however. Sustainable biofuel is also important. This flight with biofuel from Bergen to Oslo is therefore an important milestone in the industry’s joint efforts to make sustainable biofuel available to the airlines,” says Bjørn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian.
Avinor and ZERO
The initiative to these trial flights, where the tanks contain 48 per cent bio-jet fuel, was taken by Avinor and the environmental foundation ZERO.
“Over the last few years, Avinor has led the Norwegian aviation industry’s investigation of opportunities to produce aviation biofuel from Norwegian timber, and we have deployed considerable resources in this work,” says Dag Falk-Petersen, CEO of Avinor.
He explains that thorough studies have been conducted, and a network of industry players has been established.
“We are optimists regarding the process going forward. We’ll continue our collaboration with Norwegian players in the forestry and energy industries and ZERO. We are on the cusp of what might be a win-win situation for both aviation and traditional land-based industry in Norway,” Falk-Petersen states.
The bio-flights will in fact take place the day before this year’s Avinor conference.
Pleased about cooperation
“ZERO is pleased to have Avinor, and now also Norwegian and SAS, involved in the work for biofuel in aviation. People will still be flying in a future low-emissions society, and so we need to find good, renewable solutions that can replace fossil fuels. The only realistic alternative today is biofuel,” says Marius Holm, head of ZERO.
“Biofuels provide important, new industrial opportunities in Norway. ZERO believes policy instruments can be used to introduce renewable fuel at a reasonable cost through differentiation of landing fees, which will create a demand for renewable fuel,” Holm adds.
The fuel that will be used for these flights is a blend of 48 per cent sustainable bio-jet fuel based on used cooking oil, and 52 per cent conventional jet paraffin. The aim is to produce the biofuel for Norwegian aviation from biomass from forests in Norway.