The biofuel mixture powering the trial flight, which will land in time for the UN Climate Summit tomorrow (23 September), will be provided by SkyNRG Nordic and is partly manufactured from cooking oil recycled from restaurants – a more sustainable fuel source which can reduce net CO2 emissions by between 50-80%.

Aviation biofuel is a tried and tested technology, but at more than twice the price of conventionally produced jet fuel, it is not yet economically viable for any airline to operate with exclusively.

“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,” explained Finnair’s vice president of sustainable development Kati Ihamäki.

“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.”

Sustainable Aviation

Finland’s Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto added: “As air traffic contributes 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions, it is very important to have this trial with the use of biofuels.

“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.”

Finnair is active in the Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation – a group of airlines, airport operators, manufacturers and government ministries working to accelerate the development of sustainable biofuel for aviation in the Nordic countries and is currently investigating the possibility of establishing a biofuel hub at Helsinki Airport.

“This flight is a warm up for a large offensive from our side with our partners Statoil Aviation, Neste Oil and many others to accelerate the local supply and production of sustainable and affordable jet fuel for the Nordic countries,” said SkyNRG’s chief executive Dirk Kronemeijer.

He added: “With common effort – including crucial support from governments – and united purpose, we can realise a sustainable and long term future for aviation.”

Climate Summit

The UN Climate Summit, convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, takes place in New York all day tomorrow. It will be the first time that World Leaders such as Barack Obama and David Cameron have met to discuss climate change since the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks.

Stay tuned to edie for full coverage of the Summit and follow @edie for live updates throughout the day.

Lois Vallely

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