Consumers call for airline biofuels, but will not pay more – executive

13 March 2013 15:43  [Source: ICIS news]

ROTTERDAM (ICIS)--There is mounting consumer pressure on airlines to be environmentally sustainable, but most are not prepared to pay more for flights, an airline executive said late on Tuesday.

Speaking at the World Biofuel Markets conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Finnair vice president in sustainable development, Kati Ihamaki, said a lot of support is needed to help get biofuels for airlines to a stage suitable for commercialisation.

However, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has taken a different approach to commercialisation, pairing with 15 other companies to help fund the cost of running jets on biofuel, while offsetting each company’s carbon footprint.

Ignaas Caryn, director innovation, corporate venturing and biofuels strategy at KLM, said more needs to be done to reduce the cost of aviation biofuels – which can have a premium of €2,500/tonne ($3,246/tonne) over regular kerosene prices.

He said there is no real market for aviation biofuels as yet, and the industry needs innovate financial investment, demonstration plants, create action involving customers and influence government policy.

“With the development of the value chain we expect two price breakthroughs in the coming five to eight years, which must lead to competitive bio-jet fuel,” Caryn said. “We’re involved in a sustainable user group and the WWF, and we have agreed on a target of 1% blending of bio-jet fuel by 2015.”

KLM announced on 8 March it will operate weekly flights from John F Kennedy Airport in the US to Amsterdam Schiphol using sustainable biofuel.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Kate Wilcock
+44 208 652 3214

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