Finnair has operated a trans-Atlantic flight to New York using a biofuel made using recycled cooking oil.
The Airbus A330 aircraft departed Helsinki on 23 September, to coincide with the UN Climate Summit taking place in New York on the same day.
The fuel powering the flight was supplied by SkyNRG Nordic and included cooking oil recycled from restaurants. Finnair said this was part of its mission to develop biofuels that “neither compete with food production nor damage biodiversity”.
“The UN Climate Summit is an important gathering to fight climate change, and we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the climate benefits of more widespread adoption of environmentally sustainable biofuels in aviation,” said Finnair’s vice president of sustainable development, Kati Ihamaki. “Finnair is committed to working further with industry partners and government bodies alike to help develop the biofuel supply chain and bring down the cost of sustainable biofuel for everyday use.”
“As air traffic contributes 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions, it is very important to have this trial with the use of biofuels,” commented Finland’s Minister for International Development, Pekka Haavisto. “If the price of oil rises and biofuels become cheaper, there will hopefully be a day when we’ll be able to replace at least some of the fossil fuels with fuels made of renewable and waste material. I’m happy that Finnair is showing leadership in this development.”
Airlines around the world have experimented with biofuels in recent years, using everything from algae and plant extracts to cooking oil and animal fat. KLM was the first airline to operate commercial flight using cooking oil, on a Boeing 737 service from Amsterdam to Paris in 2011.