Teesside has become the UK’s first airport to partner with Air France-KLM for the airline’s programme to boost the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, part of the Air France-KLM group, connects passengers worldwide from Teesside to more than 160 countries via its link to the global Amsterdam Schiphol hub.
Air France and KLM are now working on their ambitious road map towards decarbonisation, modernising its fleet and investing in alternative, non-fossil, fuels.
This new programme is allowing the airline to partner with organisations and companies such as Teesside Airport to accelerate the production, adoption and usage of SAF – which currently makes up less than 1% of fuel used on commercial flights – transitioning from traditional fuels and reducing the CO2 footprint of air travel.
The programme also supports Teesside’s own plans to ensure the airport’s buildings and infrastructure hit Net Zero before the decade is out. A new Net Zero Strategy for the region also details how the airport aims to use SAF to achieve Net Zero flights by 2035 – making Teesside the UK’s first Net Zero airport.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’ve long championed the brilliant businesses across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool who are pioneering the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future and, as an airport, we have to practice what we preach. By joining forces with Air France-KLM, Teesside has further dedicated itself to driving the development and uptake of SAF for the good of the sector and the world.
“This is just one initiative helping to drive forward our low carbon ambitions for both the airport and region. Separately to this programme, multimillion-pound research and development into SAF is taking place on our doorstep.
“Schemes like the airport’s hydrogen vehicle trials also have applications not just at our site but far and wide. As these technologies develop, they’ll help decarbonise the environment, boost investment and create good-quality, well-paid jobs.”
Teesside Airport’s Managing Director Phil Forster said: “Partnering with the airlines that have long supported our airport to address the critical issues facing the industry is central to achieving these aims, that will benefit the world. We’re excited to be the UK’s first airport to sign up to this programme, setting out our stall as a leader in supporting emerging technologies in the sector.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to decarbonise our airport from top to bottom, not just in its day-to-day operations but also in its flights – but with initiatives like this I’ve no doubt we can succeed.”
Fahmi Mahjoub, General Manager of Air France-KLM (UK & Ireland), said: “I am very excited to welcome Teesside International Airport as the first airport in the UK to join our SAF programme. This is a major step forward in addressing our sustainability challenge as an aviation company by partnering with a UK airport to help the environment. Today marks the start of a new level of cooperation across the industry and we hope that this news helps spread the awareness in the UK and that more companies will join us in making SAF more readily available around the globe.”