On 07MAY, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operated the longest commercial flight ever with the highest amount of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from AMS to YEG, as part of the Sustainable Flight Challenge.
The challenge will see sixteen SkyTeam Airline Alliance members, which includes KLM, Air France, Delta Air Lines, ITA Airways, and more, competing with a view to sharing insight and experience on sustainability, intended to accelerate the drive towards greater sustainability throughout the industry.
As part of the Challenge, Flight KL0675 to YEG was operated on the Boeing 787-10, one of KLM's most economical aircraft, using a fuel blend of 39 per cent SAF. In addition, other weight-reduction measures were taking onboard to reduce the amount of fuel needed for the flight. Business Class passengers were asked to choose their preferred meal in advance and AI modelling was used to predict inflight water requirements to reduce unnecessary volume.
In addition, pilots worked with air traffic controllers to fly the most efficient route and avoid detours. Loading was optimized to ensure the best centre of gravity, improving aerodynamics and generating fuel savings ranging from 1.5 to 2 per cent, according to KLM. Cargo in the belly was stacked on lighter pallets and secured with lighter nets, and transport companies delivering cargo were asked to use vehicles powered by electricity or biodiesel.
A total of more than 50 existing and new measures were taken aboard the flight, involving all KLM divisions as well as partners such as Edmonton Airport, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) and General Electric.
In total, all measures reduced fuel and CO2 emissions by another 8 per cent.
Also as part of the challenge, KLM also flew from AMS to OPO aboard its Embraer 190 with the same 39 per cent SAF fuel blend and environmental measures.
The Sustainable Flight Challenge
The Sustainable Flight Challenge was initiated by a group of KLM employees, who were inspired by the famous London-Melbourne Air Race of 1934, which aimed to expand global access to the world and connect people with one another.
As part of the challenge, SkyTeam Airline Alliance members compete to operate the most sustainable flight or generate the most significant innovation to further reduce aviation’s impact on the environment. Members can partake in two flight categories, long-haul and medium haul, between 01-14MAY. KLM's flights in both categories were from AMS to YEG and OPO on 07MAY.
"Long-distance flights are no longer a challenge to the air transport industry, but sustainability presents a new frontier. That is why the Sustainable Flight Challenge will focus on an everyday, commercial scheduled service," KLM said in a statement.
Pieter Elbers, KLM President & CEO, said, "The Challenge only has winners, because our cooperation (between airlines) makes improvements in sustainability both possible and achievable. I’m happy and proud to have been on this special flight, to see the enthusiasm of our KLM teams and partners, and to experience the outstanding spirit of cooperation here in Edmonton. It is a wonderful example of how we can work together to improve sustainability and support one another in the process. KLM and Edmonton share a vision and are equally ambitious and determined in their commitment to achieving greater sustainability."
The performance of the participating SkyTeam Airline Alliance members will be externally evaluated by a panel of six judges, headed by former Dutch Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende. They will decide which airline has performed best in four categories: impact, innovation, scalability and cooperation. The results will be released at the end of JUN, and the knowledge generated during the Sustainable Flight Challenge will be shared among the participating SkyTeam partners.
For more information on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, visit its web site.