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Swiss Air Lines Becomes First Swiss Airline to Fly With Sustainable Fuel

A Swiss A220 aircraft (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Air travel has become much more significant than before, bringing socio-economic benefits for numerous countries worldwide by connecting both people and cargo. The aviation industry certainly brought forth convenience and profits and is only bound to continue expanding.

However, flying has its environmental price with carbon dioxide emissions and noise pollutions, and the need for dumping fuel sometimes causes adverse pollution as well. And as climate change becomes evidently worse, some governments, most visivly France, have imposed limitations on domestic flights as a means of promoting rail transport instead, cutting down on the environmental effects of flying.

This is why many international airlines – such as Swiss International Air Lines – have began the initiative of pledging their commitment to fly carbon neutral by a certain year, and in the case of Swiss, that year would be 2050.

These airlines have taken to fleet restructuring by replacing their older, less-fuel-efficient models with the new-generation aircraft that allow for longer flight distances with lower fuel consumption and reduced noise pollution.

Swiss did just that as well, having upgraded their short and medium-haul fleet by using the Airbus A220, A320neo and A3201eo aircraft, which have new-generation engines and wing-tip sharklets to help increase fuel savings.

The airline did not just stop there, as it had been further involved and supported the study from the Aviation Research Centre Switzerland in 2020, which aims to research on how aviation can further reduce carbon emissions for long-term climate strategies.

As a member of the Lufthansa Group, Swiss has also been working alongside the Group in promoting research and into the trails and adoption of sustainable aviation fuels.

Flying to Sustainability

An even bigger milestone in its pursuit for environmental sustainability was achieved just recently, as Swiss announced on Tuesday that it was the first-ever commercial airline to accomplish an end-to-end logistics chain to import sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to Switzerland.

Furthermore, it also makes Swiss the first-ever to conduct scheduled flight operations from Switzerland using SAF, and this milestone was made possible as Swiss partnered up with Neste.

Based in Finland, Neste takes the lead as the world’s leading SAF provider and is Europe’s biggest. Neste claims that its sustainable fuels can reduce approximately 80% of greenhouse gas emissions as compared to traditional jet fuel.

Neste’s SAF is said to be made from sustainably-sourced renewable waste and residue from raw materials, and its production was certified by the independent Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials in April 2021.

Diversifying away from traditional oil refining, Neste has been refocusing its business on producing renewable diesel, SAF and feedstock for polymers and chemicals.

Producing a huge capacity of 100,000 mt per year, Neste is further aiming to produce some 1.5 million mt per year of SAF by the end of 2023, solidifying its position as a key producer of renewable diesel. Currently, the company has manufacturing plants in Finland, the Netherlands and Singapore. With its many years of producing biofuels, Neste will have a long-term and fruitful partnership with the Lufthansa Group.

“We are very pleased to welcome SWISS to the ever-growing ranks of major airlines that are using SAF,” says Jonathan Wood, Neste’s Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation. “This first-ever delivery of SAF to Switzerland for commercial airline use is a major milestone for us at Neste, too.”

Swiss took its first delivery of SAF with an amount totaling to more than 460 tonnes, and it will be fueled at Zurich Airport via the conventional hydrant system.

Using the airline’s A32oneo family for mathematical calculations, the SAF delivered would be sufficient to fuel more than 170 flights.

“This is a milestone for Swiss aviation on the sustainability front,” Swiss CEO Dieter Vranckx said. “We are proud to be the first airline to have laid the foundations for SAF to be used in scheduled flight operations in Switzerland. Because this, combined with our highly advanced aircraft fleet, really enables responsible air travel.”

Swiss believes that SAF will play a crucial role in decarbonizing the aviation industry and plans to continue supporting and promoting the use of SAF. With its first import of SAF to Switzerland and its associated actions a success, Swiss is proving its own intention to support SAF’s market introduction.

Vranckx added on by saying, “By investing billions in a state-of-the-art aircraft fleet, partnering to promote SAF and making further product and process refinements, we are playing our own SWISS part in giving travel a more sustainable future.”

Charlotte Seet


  • Charlotte Seet

    Fascinated by aircraft from a very young age, Charlotte’s dream was to work alongside the big birds one day. Pursuing her dream, she went on to achieve her diploma in Aviation Management and is currently working on her degree in Aviation Business in Administration with a minor in Air Traffic Management. When she’s not busy with school assignments, you can find her aircraft spotting for long hours at the airport. In Charlotte’s heart, the Queen of the Skies will always be her favorite aircraft.

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