KLM expands its sustainability approach

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines conducted the world’s first commercial flight on blended biofuel in 2011. In February 2021, the airline operated a commercial flight with an admixture of sustainable synthetic fuel. They haven now started adding 0.5% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for flights departing from Amsterdam and will offer customers the option of purchasing an extra amount of sustainable fuel, helping them to achieve their goal of stimulating the market for SAF.

Apart from fleet renewal and further innovation, the company is committed to bringing about an energy transition – something they have already started rolling out, with customers participating in the airline’s Corporate and Cargo SAF Programme. This has enabled KLM to already have a relatively substantial share of the global SAF market today.

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No matter how small, these steps are in the right direction and KLM hopes that other airlines will soon follow.

KLM will need to work with all parties within the ecosystem and come up with rock-solid solutions and innovations to further open the market for SAF.

Reduce CO2 emissions by 75%

The CO2 emissions of SAF that KLM currently purchases are at least 75% lower than those of fossil kerosene. SAF is therefore the most important way of reducing CO2 emissions in the short term, ultimately contributing to making aviation more sustainable.

The costs of SAF are at least four times more though and production is lagging behind, which is why KLM hopes to increase demand to further develop the market for SAF that supply is scaled up and sustainable fuel becomes more affordable.

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Big Ambitions

In January 2022, France introduced a compulsory SAF admixture percentage – something which is not yet compulsory in the Netherlands. There is, however, a proposal within Europe to achieve a compulsory SAF proportion of 2% by 2025 for all flights within Europe.

KLM has announced that it is their and their partners in the Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition’s ambition to achieve a worldwide SAF proportion of 10% in 2030. They have to this end decided to start adding more SAF voluntarily.

KLM Airlines expands its sustainability approach
KLM Airlines expands its sustainability approach. Image: Supplied

How does this impact KLM ticket pricing?

The 0.5% SAF proportion will supplement the SAF that is blended for customers who are members of the KLM Corporate and Cargo SAF programmes. A surcharge (between 1 and 12 Euros, depending on the distance of the flight and the seats booked) will be added to the ticket price for the additional SAF. Therefore, KLM passengers will automatically contribute to the purchase of sustainable fuel. This contribution will then be used to finance a standard 0.5% SAF admixture on all flights from Amsterdam.

Want to further reduce the footprint?

KLM has also expanded their CO2ZERO service with an option to purchase an additional quantity of SAF. The option is available in addition to the existing compensation alternative to support a reforestation (the way in which CO2 emissions can be compensated outside the aviation industry) project with Gold Standard certification.

These additional purchases allow passengers to contribute to less use of fossil kerosene, therefore directly reducing CO2 emissions due to flying.

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