“It really isn’t smelly!”That’s the assertion given by KLM to press and passengers on Friday, as the first-ever series of biofuel-powered intercontinental flights was inaugurated.
All is normal inside the aircraft, and indeed passengers may have no idea they are flying on a history-making jet, unless they see the proud “we fly on biofuels” statement painted on the side.
Outside, two fueling trucks pump the plane’s tanks full of a mix of regular kerosene and biofuel manufactured from used cooking oil.
According to the AP, the process to make this magic fuel goes a little something like this: “the waste oil from frying up crawfish, cracklins and other Cajun specialties is refined at a Louisiana plant, then trucked to JFK.” Sounds simple, huh?
The air smells faintly of french fries. This Boeing 777-200 is ready to go, and go she will from New York-JFK to Amsterdam-Schiphol and back weekly, reducing carbon emissions up to 80%.
Sure, there have been biofuel flights with paying passengers onboard other airlines before, but this regular KLM service (every Thursday over the next six months) will have the honour of being the first series of intercontinental flights, not a special one-off.
Why Is JFK So special?
If we’re to believe Mr. Camiel Eurlings, KLM’s Managing Director, the partnership “underscores old and strong ties between New York, once ‘New Amsterdam,’ and Amsterdam.”
That’s true, but practicality also comes into play, considering Schiphol Group (operators of AMS) also happen to own JFK IAT, the company that operates Terminal 4 at JFK. Convenient! To throw a little more reasoning at you, according to KLM the flight numbers KL641 and KL642 were especially chosen as they were the flight numbers of the very first regular commercial service from a European airline to connect the US and Europe, in 1946.
- The fuel blend is 25% biofuel, 75% normal jet fuel
- The fuel comes from SkyNRG, a company founded by KLM in 2009 and which is now the market leader for sustainable kerosene. They currently supply biofuel to 15+ airlines.
- The flight burning biofuels from JFK is KL642, every Thursday for the next 24 weeks
- Two 10,000-gallon refueling trucks will be dedicated to this operation
- Delta, a major partner is this, has reduced their own emissions by 18.5% per cent since 2005
If you’re booked to fly to Amsterdam from JFK soon, check your itinerary to see if your flight is on a Thursday, operated by KLM 642.
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