SIA to operate 12 'green package' flights for 3 months on San Francisco-Singapore route

An SIA Airbus A350-900 being refueled with biofuels.
An SIA Airbus A350-900 being refueled with biofuels.PHOTO: SIA

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA), in partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), has started operating a series of 12 "green package" flights over a three-month period on its non-stop San Francisco-Singapore route, as a commitment to the global effort to reduce international aviation emissions.

Using SIA's latest and most fuel-efficient aircraft, the Airbus A350-900, the flights are the first in the world to combine the use of biofuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised flight operations, SIA and CAAS said jointly on Wednesday (May 3).

CAAS is providing air traffic management support to help reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions for the flights.

The first of the 12 flights, SQ31, departed San Francisco at 11.21am (San Francisco time) on May 1 and arrived in Singapore at 7.10pm on May 2 with 206 passengers on board.

The initiative supports the efforts under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB) 2015 to develop Singapore into a "leading green economy" where businesses adopt more efficient and sustainable processes and measures to reduce their environmental impact, the joint release said.

The flights will also raise awareness of sustainable biofuels for aviation and provide the industry with valuable insight on the economics, logistical requirements and performance of biofuels, it added.

Over the three-month period, flight SQ31 will be powered by a combination of Hefa (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids), a sustainable biofuel produced from used cooking oils, and conventional jet fuel.

The biofuel, produced by AltAir Fuels, will be supplied and delivered to San Francisco by SkyNRG in collaboration with North American Fuel Corporation (Nafco), a wholly owned subsidiary of China Aviation Oil (Singapore) and Epic Fuels.

According to the International Air Transport Association (Iata), sustainable biofuel is a promising technological solution which will reduce the airline industry's carbon emissions. It has been certified safe for use in commercial aviation since 2011, and has been in use by airlines in other parts of the world.

"This is in line with our long-term commitment to further reduce carbon emissions while improving the efficiency of our operations," said SIA's chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong.

CAAS' director-general Kevin Shum said: "This is part of CAAS' ongoing effort to develop new initiatives to achieve the sustainable growth of aviation. Collaboration is key in this effort."