Malaysia Airlines (MAS) recently completed its inaugural flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in partnership with Petronas Dagangan Berhad (PDB), which has initiated various efforts towards overall decarbonisation and diversification of its production portfolio.
The flight marks MAS’ commitment towards making SAF the cleaner and more viable energy option for regular flights by 2025. On December 17, 2021, flight MH7979 saw an Airbus 330-200 depart from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol at 12:55 pm local time using a blend mixture of approximately 38% SAF and conventional jet fuel, with the aircraft arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 9am local time on December 18.
The use of SAF was made possible as a result of a supply deal between Petco Trading (UK) Ltd, which is Petronas’ marketing and trading arm in Europe, as well as Neste, a leading producer of renewable diesel and SAF refined from waste and residues.
In the near term, SAF is recognised globally as the most feasible option to reduce aviation emissions. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel is produced from sustainably-sourced, 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. In its neat form, and over the life cycle, SAF reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to fossil jet fuel.
“Building on the momentum from our net zero emissions commitment earlier this year, we are proud to have crossed the significant landmark of operating the first Malaysian flight using SAF. Moving forward, we expect SAF to be a key component of our strategy to deliver a more sustainable travel experience for our customers,” said Izham Ismail, group chief executive officer of MAG (Malaysia Aviation Group), the parent company of MAS.
“In line with Petronas’ net zero carbon emissions by 2050 aspiration and our continued efforts to make sustainable energy more accessible, we have been providing cleaner energy solutions including EV chargers, liquefied natural gas (LNG), solar solutions and other renewable energy to support our partners and customers in achieving their emissions reduction ambitions,” he continued,” commented Azrul Osman Rani, PDB’s managing director and CEO.
“With SAF now proven to be a feasible alternative for commercial flights, we are excited to continue making headways in this decarbonisation journey,” Azrul continued, adding that Petronas and MAS have been working together for more than two decades.
Petronas will venture into the biofuels space with the planned development of a greenfield biorefinery as well as co-processing at existing Petronas facilities. The biorefinery, which is targeted to be ready for start-up (RFSU) in 2025, will supply SAF with operational flexibility to also produce hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) or renewable diesel.
“Neste is committed to helping aviation with its emission reduction targets and we’re delighted to cooperate with MAS and Petronas to complete their first SAF-powered flight. Neste’s SAF provides immediate emission reductions and is already available today, playing a pivotal role in decarbonising the aviation industry. We continue to scale up our operations and will have the capacity to produce some 1.5 million tons of SAF annually by the end of 2023,” said Thorsten Lange, executive vice president renewable aviation at Neste.
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