IAG Cargo and AFKLM partner with forwarders on SAF flights

By Rachelle Harry

IAG Cargo and Air France KLM Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP Cargo) have partnered with more freight forwarders on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flights.

IAG Cargo has partnered with Kuehne+Nagel (K+N) to complete its first net zero charter chain, comprised of 16 flights, using SAF.

Operated between Stuttgart and Atlanta and partially powered with SAF, the charters marked the first time ever that passenger-freighter flights were operated with net-zero carbon emissions.

K+N explained in a statement: “As SAF still produces some CO2 emissions, complete carbon neutrality was achieved by substituting each litre of jet fuel kerosene used with 1.25 litres of SAF.”

The forwarder added that it is expanding its sustainable services offering to its customers with “innovative and easily customised shipping options”.

“The overall commitment so far of 12.7m litres of SAF allows [our] customers to benefit from immediately available alternative fuel solutions to reduce CO2 emissions of their air freight globally,” the company said.

The last of the British Airways B787-900 flights in the chain left Stuttgart on June 26, carrying around 45 tonnes of automotive spare parts and other industrial goods to Atlanta via London Heathrow.

Yngve Ruud, a member of the management board at K+N, responsible for air logistics, commented: “Climate change has now given new urgency to the search for clean, renewable fuels as they are currently the most effective measure to achieve true decarbonisation in our industry.

“K+N is committed to increasing its supply of SAF as part of our ambitious Net Zero Carbon programme. Our work with our suppliers is critical here, with trusted partners like IAG Cargo playing a vital role in the attainment of our goals by fostering deployment of sustainable fuels so our like-minded customers can ship their products CO2 neutral in an easy and transparent way.”

John Cheetham, chief commercial officer at IAG Cargo, commented: “IAG was the first European airline group to commit to powering 10%t of its flights with sustainable fuel by 2030. These charters mark IAG Cargo’s first step on that journey – I’m incredibly proud of our commitment to long-term sustainability, helping to reduce carbon footprint overall.

“We are constantly looking at ways which reduce our impact on the environment whilst improving our customer offering and we were delighted to support Kuehne+Nagel with sourcing this SAF to power these landmark charters, the first of many.”

Air France KLM partners with Hellmann

IAG and K+N are not the only companies to announce a new SAF partnership: AFKLMP Cargo named Hellmann Logistics Middle East South Asia (MESA) as the latest firm to join its SAF programme.

AFKLMP Cargo said Hellman MESA is the first company in the region to join the programme. The contract was signed at the regional Air France-KLM office in Dubai by senior representatives of both companies.

Philippe van Meir, director Middle East and Southern Asia at Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, commented: “We are proud to sign this first SAF agreement in the Middle East, where interest and commitment to sustainable aviation is growing rapidly, and to welcome Hellmann Middle East South Asia in joining our programme.

“With this agreement we are frontrunners in the industry by delivering green logistics solutions. Our shared commitment to creating a sustainable future for aviation means that together, we are now taking ambitious steps to achieving this by pioneering the development and adoption of these revolutionary fuels in the region.”

Baby George, vice president of airfreight at Hellmann MESA, added: “In our 150-year long company history, we have always been organisation that lives sustainability; always keeping in mind our great responsibility for people, the environment and also society. These values are firmly embedded in our global family culture.

“Joining hands with Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has given us an opportunity to contribute towards reducing our carbon footprint, in freight transportation. We are proud to associate ourselves with the SAF program in the region, which strengthens our collaboration with Air France KLM Martinair Cargo and our customers who are committed to sustainable freight transportation initiatives”

Air France-KLM launched its SAF programme in January 2021. The programme makes it possible for shippers and forwarders to power a share of their flights using SAF. 

“Programme partners receive a third-party audited report justifying the purchased amount of SAF linked to the traffic volume, and indicating the achieved reduction in CO2, helping make air transport more sustainable,” the carrier said.

Air France and KLM have been involved in research and development programmes in the field of alternative fuels for many years. In 2011, the two airlines were among the first to operate commercial flights, demonstrating a possible alternative to fossil fuels.

Sustainable aviation fuels are made from waste oils, waste products and forest residues. Their use can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 85% compared with conventional fuel.

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