Finnair flies first biofuel flight from Amsterdam to Helsinki

Finnair recently flew the world’s longest commercial flight to date using biofuel and is set to fly a series of four more flights using biofuel in both engines of its aircraft. Photo: Finn Air

DALLAS, August 8, 2011—Not all airlines care about finding that balance betweenecologically, financially and socially sustainable fuel solutions, but recently Finnair took that first step toward more sustainable flying.

Biofuel might be the perfect sustainable way to fly airplanes in the future.

Biofuel might be the perfect sustainable way to fly airplanes in the future.

With biofuels constantly being improved in all of the above-mentioned areas of sustainability, current investments are still playing the most important role in development work. 

Finnair is poised to be on the cutting edge. 

“Biofuel use is still not financially sustainable, because biofuel is more expensive than ordinary aviation fuel and no large-scale production or distribution has yet been established,” says Finnair’s Vice President Sustainable Development Kati Ihamäki. “Finnair, moreover, does not receive any kind of financial support to use biofuel, unlike some other airlines.”

In its first biofuel flight, Finnair flew from Amsterdam to Helsinki operating an Airbus A319 aircraft. Using SkyNRG biofuel manufactured from recycled biomass, the fuel mixture used is half biofuel and half ordinary aviation fuel and is manufactured from cooking oil recycled from restaurants.

SkyNRG is a Dutch Company with the mission to help create a sustainable future for aviation through actively developing a sustainable production chain for alternative aviation fuels has been exhaustively researching biofuel for some time and the biofuel used on this first flight currently fulfils all of the quality and safety requirements set for jet fuel. The fuel mixture used is certified in the same class as ordinary aviation fuel.

“Our sector’s goal is to find sustainable biofuel solutions so we do not compete with food, land nor water and these Finnair flights are a step in that direction,” said Andrea Debbane, Airbus head of Environmental Affairs. “Airbus is at the forefront in helping to speed up the commercialization of biofuels for aviation and these latest passenger flights are proof that we have already come a long way.”

Most of the environmental impact of flying arises from engine emissions, so investment on research into alternative fuels is a natural way to seek to reduce environmental loading. The term biofuel means a fuel made from a renewable, organic raw material. The plants used in its manufacture bind carbon dioxide, which is released back into the atmosphere when the biofuel is burned.

For more information about Finnair visit

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books. Her latest book release in May was “A Brief History of Fort Worth’ published by The History Press.

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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.


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