Wed 29 June 2011 – KLM produced a surprise today by becoming the first airline in the world to operate a commercial flight powered partly by a sustainable biofuel. The scheduled flight of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft between Amsterdam and Paris carried 171 passengers and was seen off by the Dutch State Secretary of Infrastructure and the Environment, Joop Atsma. The biokerosene was a mix of used cooking oil supplied by SkyNRG and produced by US-based Dynamic Fuels, and conventional jet fuel. Oil-based biofuels were recently passed for commercial aviation use by members of fuel body ASTM International, although the approval and certification process has not yet been completed. However, the KLM flight was granted permission by the Dutch Inspectorate for Transport, Public Works and Water Management with the support of Boeing.
The ground-breaking flight was hailed by the airline’s Managing Director Camiel Eurlings. “Today, KLM wrote history,” he announced.
Joop Atsma said: “It will be interesting to follow and stimulate the further development of biofuels. In taking this step, KLM clearly shows the value of finding clever ways to use waste derived from producers and consumers.”
The airline revealed last week (see article) that it was commencing a programme of 200 commercial biofuel flights in September between Amsterdam and Paris that would involve used cooking oil imported from the United States.
KLM would appear to have stolen a march on Lufthansa, which had been planning to be the first to operate commercial flights once ASTM certification was approved.
Fuelling the B737-800 with the biofuel blend prior to its flight (photo: KLM):
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