Maiden ATR Biofuel Flight

Swedish carrier BRA, formerly Braathens Regional, has performed the world’s first biofuel-powered flight of an ATR turboprop aircraft.  The scheduled service from Stockholm/Bromma to Umeå on February 1, was fuelled with a 45% mix of fossil-free used cooking oil.

Christian Clemens, Chief Executive Officer of BRA, declared: “Sweden is currently debating a new tax on aviation.  It will have a minimal impact on emissions, and will unfortunately slow down the pace in which we can continue to make aviation more sustainable.  The ATR 72-600, especially if powered by biofuels, is the optimal transportation on many of our routes and features the highest standards of environmental care.”

Clemens revealed that there are several research and development biofuel initiatives currently underway in Sweden involving different types of wood.  More than 50% of the country is covered in forests, and these, grow at a rate of 120 million cubic metres annually.  Making domestic air traffic in Sweden completely fossil-free would require less than 2% of the total annual forest growth.

Christian Scherer, CEO of ATR who was on board the one-off flight said: “Today’s challenge is to get large-scale production of biofuels at affordable prices while avoiding a negative impact on the environment.  Swedish airlines like BRA can take advantage of the massive expansion of its forests, along with the operation of fuel-efficient turboprops, to reach the ambitious goal of halving CO2 emissions by 2025.

Airliner World was on board the special BRA biofuel flight, so look out for a full report in our April issue – which goes on sale on March 8.

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