31 May 2016

Who will be the leader in reducing air traffic emissions?

Airplane, Neste

What is the common denominator between Boeing, Lufthansa, the Gardemoen airport in Oslo, Norway and Swedavia in Sweden? The answer: they are all forerunners in the field of renewable energy solutions for air traffic. 

The renewable aviation fuel produced by Neste has been successfully used both on the Lufthansa commercial routes and during Boeing's test flights. In Sweden, the air traffic authority Swedavia announced at the end of March that it will launch an incentive program aimed at compensating 50 percent of the price difference between fossil and renewable aviation fuels to airlines that invest in renewable fuels. The Gardemoen airport in Oslo, for its part, this year became the first airport in the world at which planes can fill their tanks with Neste's renewable aviation fuel.

Now it is high time to also create similar cooperation between other airlines and governments. Concrete solutions already exist, and many airlines wish to build up a responsible image, but none of them have so far taken a clear leading role in the utilization of the cleanest solutions available for air traffic.

Consumers also have their say in all of this. Although the legislation does not yet require the use of alternative products, the airlines would surely be prepared to offer them to demanding and enlightened consumers. The companies that send in reports about their environmental footprints already have a fast and easy way of reducing their carbon intensity by favoring renewable aviation fuels. At best, an aviation fuel made of renewable raw materials makes it possible to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 80 percent during the lifespan of the product.

I firmly believe that cooperation between authorities, airplane manufacturers and other players in the aviation industry could bring the aviation business closer to clean practices, and help reach the goals set for emission reductions within the field. It is a known fact that there is no alternative for liquid fuels in air traffic. Furthermore, the shift into new types of airplanes takes many decades. However, there is the option of taking a united front and working together towards the same goals. Considering the huge volumes of air traffic, such unanimous decisions would be of decisive significance for the future of our planet.

Virpi Kröger, Neste
Virpi Kröger
Marketing and Sales Development, Renewable Products, Neste