LAN Airlines and Air BP Copec mark a milestone in aviation by carrying out the first commercial flight in South America using second generation biofuel
The historic flight took place on March 7 on an Airbus A320, between the cities of Santiago and Concepcion, and was attended by the Minister of the Environment, Maria Ignacia Benitez, and also by the chief executives of LAN and Copec, who welcomed local authorities and the invited press.
Santiago, Chile, Wednesday, March 7, 2012.- LAN Airlines and Air BP Copec made the first commercial flight in South America using second generation biofuels, demonstrating their efforts to generate an increasingly sustainable operation. The flight, which operated between the Chilean cities of Santiago and Concepcion, was conducted on an Airbus from the A320 family with CFM56-5B motors. The fuel came from used vegetable oil refining and met the strictest technical standards required to fly.
The flight ended with an event held in the city of Concepcion, which was attended by the Minister of the Environment, Maria Ignacia Benitez, and LAN and Copec executives who received local authorities and the invited press.
Chief Operation Officer of LAN, Ignacio Cueto said: "This flight represents a key step towards the future of the industry. At LAN we aim to develop sustainable biofuels for commercial aircraft with a high production potential in South America. Currently, these renewable energy sources play a significant role in global aviation and will affect, increasingly, decision-making in the industry and our company. We want to be pioneers in the use of renewable fuels in South America.
In turn, Lorenzo Gazmuri, general manager of Copec, emphasized the importance that this landmark has for the regional aviation and energy industries: "This is the result of intense work for over a year, a materialization of the ongoing commitment of Copec to developing and promoting new and innovative energy solutions. We hope that in Chile and the region, the desire to promote this alternative will continue to increase and place it competitively in the market of aviation fuels in order to meet the requirements of an increasingly more demanding society in terms of sustainability".
What are they and what is the technical reliability of biofuels?
The biofuels used in these flights can be obtained from plants such as algae, jatropha, camelina and halophytes, or organic waste such as vegetable oils, which can be processed, burned directly or converted by chemical processes to make high quality fuel.
These are known as second generation biofuels. They come primarily from sustainable raw materials, which in production do not compete with food sources or basic resources (limited resources), which is key in the care of our planet.
For aviation, biofuel meets the strict technical standards required to fly, and has the same characteristics as the regular fuel used on flights. In addition, this source has already been tested successfully by other airlines in the world, showing the same reliability as aviation kerosene on both test and commercial flights.
Using second generation biofuel in flight significantly decreases emissions of greenhouse gases, as no additional C02 is emitted into the atmosphere.
The environmental manager of LAN, Enrique Guzman, said the environmental contribution would bring the use of renewable energy in aviation, would be significant: "Traditional aviation fuel comes from oil and when used on the plane releases C02. In the case of using biofuel, the CO2 released is almost the same amount that was captured by the crop during its growth, meaning that no additional CO2 is released into the atmosphere", explained Guzman.
Aviation context and the use of biofuels
The airline industry has imposed ambitious environmental goals regarding the impact of its operations, such as achieving neutral growth in their emissions by the year 2020 and reducing these emissions by 50% by 2050. To accomplish this, biofuels are a strategic pillar, which is why airlines, such as LAN, are working worldwide to encourage the development of this growing industry.
The airline industry has already reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2 per ton transported), by more than 50% in the last 40 years. Still, airlines including LAN have gone further by implementing efforts to minimize the maximum impact of its operations.
This alliance between LAN and COPEC seeks to encourage the development of alternative energies, and thereby generate a contribution to the economic, environmental and social development in the region.
Forecasts of the airline industry on biofuels
Globally, according to IATA, a 1% use of biofuels by 2015 and 5% by 2020, is desired. It is a difficult goal to achieve and requires the coordination of all involved in the production chain, from the producer of biomass to the final distributor, including public policies that support this initiative.
LAN Airlines is one of the leading passenger and cargo airlines in Latin America. The company and its affiliates serve over 100 destinations around the world through an extensive network that offers full connectivity within Latin America, while also linking the region with North America, Europe and the South Pacific, as well as 70 additional international destinations through its various code share agrerments. LAN Airlines and its affiliates have a leading position in their respective domestic markets of Chile and Peru as well as an important presence in the Argentinean, Ecuadorian and Colombian domestic markets.
Currently, LAN Airlines and its affiliates operate 134 passenger aircraft while LAN Cargo and its respective affiliates have a fleet of 14 dedicated freighters. The Company has one of the youngest fleets in the world which has meant greater efficiency and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, reflecting its strong commitment to the protection of the environment.
LAN is one of the few Investment Grade airlines in the world (BBB). The company's world class quality standards enabled its membership in oneworld™, an alliance of leading global airlines of which LAN has been a member for 10 years. For more information please visit www.lan.com or www.oneworldalliance.com
Acerca de Air BP
Air BP Copec, a Joint Venture between Copec and Air BP, was formed in Jan 12th 2001. The company main objective is to supply fuel for the commercial and general aviation businesses in Chile aligned with the best health, safety and environment principles. Air BP Copec currently is the major fuel supplier in the Chilean Aviation market working with the main domestic and international airlines. The company operates 9 airports sites in the country selling Jet A1 and Avgas.