Air France uses cooking oil to fly to Canada as green fuel debate rages
Air France uses cooking oil to fly to Canada
Published: May 19, 2021 06:48 PM
Air France-KLM flew a biofuel-powered Airbus A350 from Paris to Montreal on Tuesday, demonstrating the airline's readiness to adopt low-emissions fuel despite deep industry divisions over the pace of its adoption.

Air France flight 342 took off from Charles de Gaulle airport with a 16 percent mix of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in its fuel tanks, produced in France by Total from used cooking oil. The flight signaled a "shared ambition to decarbonize air transportation and to develop a SAF supply chain in France," the companies said in a joint statement with airport operator ADP.

Jet fuel produced from biomass or synthetically from renewable power has the potential to slash carbon emissions, albeit at a heavy cost by comparison to the price of kerosene.

Starting in 2022, flights departing from France will be required to use 1 percent SAF, ahead of European Union goals to reach 2 percent by 2025 and 5 percent by 2030 under the bloc's Green Deal policy. But traditional network airlines have sought to exempt long-haul flights, arguing that a Europe-only SAF requirement could expose them to unfair foreign competition. 

That has drawn an angry response from low-cost airlines including Ryanair, Wizz Air and easyJet, which wrote to the EU in March to demand that the rules apply to all flights originating in Europe.