Press Release Article


Date: Mar 13, 2013
Press Release Number: 28-2013

New York – March 8, 2013: The international aerospace community today marked a new milestone in sustainable aviation with the launch of a first-ever series of biofuel-powered intercontinental flights.

As part of a 25-week pilot program undertaken by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) -- in partnership with the Schiphol Group, Delta Air Lines and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- a KLM B777-200 fueled in part by biofuel, departed from JFK International Airport for Schiphol Amsterdam Airport on March 8.

The expanded use of biofuel for aviation would significantly reduce the industry's carbon footprint and its dependence on fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft account for more than half of all airport-related emissions.

"I am proud that KLM is once again demonstrating its leading role in developing sustainable biofuel. For eight years in a row, KLM, together with Air France, has been sector leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Alongside this biofuel series, we are starting a study to further identify sustainability gains in fuel, weight and carbon dioxide reduction throughout the entire flight process. We are striving to achieve the 'optimal flight' together with research institutes, suppliers, airports, and air traffic control. We are combining new and existing technology, processes, and efficiency initiatives to achieve this. Cooperation is a priority!" said Camiel Eurlings, KLM's Managing Director.

"The aviation community has an obligation to demonstrate leadership in promoting global sustainability," said Jos Nijhuis, President of Schiphol Group. "Schiphol has long recognized our responsibility to minimize our environmental footprint. We are proud to join with our partners to broaden the use of biofuels as one important step in this effort."

Under the pilot program, biofuel – derived from used cooking oil -- is blended into conventional fuels. Under this initiative, flights run partially on sustainable biofuel.

Commercially viable biofuels for jet aircraft have been in development for many years. While these fuels are certified for use in jet aircraft, they have not been widely deployed because they cost significantly more than conventional jet fuel and are usually available in small volumes. A key goal of the pilot program is to drive demand for biofuels in a way that helps lower the cost of sustainable fuel to levels competitive with fossil fuels.

"Delta recognizes the business value in working through and with its partners to address a significant environmental issue such as climate change," said Ed Bastian, President of Delta Air Lines. "The potential for biofuel to contribute to our climate change strategy could be quite significant once issues of supply and cost are addressed. This pilot program is a step in the right direction."

"The Port Authority is pleased to partner with KLM on their pioneering series of transatlantic biofuel flights," said Susan Baer, Aviation Director for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "This program complements our agency's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at our airports and design resilient, energy-efficient, high-performance facilities for the future."

Participants in the biofuel pilot program are active supporters of the C40 initiative, a network of 40 of the world's largest cities – including New York and Amsterdam -- taking coordinated action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate risks.

The initial American biofuel flight in the series on March 8 was a return flight as part of a round trip from Amsterdam to New York and back to Amsterdam. For the remaining 25 weeks, the pilot program will involve weekly flights departing from JFK on KLM flight 642 on Thursdays.

The Port Authority's role in the biofuel pilot program consists of on-the ground facilitation and in-kind contributions of fueling services. The Port Authority is also dedicating two 10,000-gallon refuelers to the operation.

KLM's biofuel is supplied by SkyNRG, a company which KLM founded 2009 together with North Sea Group and Spring Associates. SkyNRG is now the world's market leader for sustainable kerosene, supplying more than fifteen carriers worldwide. As of April, KLM will use RSB-certified (Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels) biofuel. RSB has set the world's highest standard for respecting people and the environment in biofuel production.

About KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded in 1919, making it the world's oldest airline still operating under its original name. In 2004, Air France and KLM merged to form AIR FRANCE KLM. The merger produced the strongest European airline group based on two powerful brands and hubs – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Retaining its own identity, the group focuses on three core businesses: passenger transport, cargo and aircraft maintenance.In the Netherlands, KLM comprises the core of the KLM Group, which further includes KLM Cityhopper, and Martinair KLM serves all its destinations using a modern fleet and employs over 33,000 people around the world. KLM is a leader in the airline industry, offering reliable operations and customer-oriented products resulting from its policy of enthusiasm and sustainable innovation.

KLM is a member of the global SkyTeam airline alliance, offering customers an extensive worldwide network. The KLM network connects the Netherlands to every important economic region in the world and, as such, serves as a powerful driver for the economy.

About SkyTeam

SkyTeam is a global airline alliance providing customers from member airlines access to an extensive worldwide network offering more destinations, more frequencies and more connectivity. Passengers can earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles throughout the SkyTeam network. SkyTeam member airlines offer customers access to over 490 lounges worldwide.

About Schiphol Group

Schiphol Group is an airport operator. The company's aim is to create sustainable value for its stakeholders by developing AirportCities and by positioning Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as the leading AirportCity. The company's ambition is to rank among the world's leading airport companies.

Schiphol Group owns and operates Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Lelystad Airport and has a 51% share in Eindhoven Airport. Outside the Netherlands, Schiphol USA Inc. owns JFK IAT, which operates Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy Airport, New York, Schiphol Australia has a share in Brisbane Airport Corporation, the operator of Brisbane Airport and Schiphol Group has a share in Aéroports de Paris, the operator of the airports of Paris.

About Delta

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. Delta was named by Fortune magazine as the most admired airline worldwide in its 2013 World's Most Admired Companies airline industry list, topping the list for the second time in three years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 319 destinations in 59 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry's leading

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