October 24th, the day that will go down in Azores Airlines’ history as the beginning of a new era. The company made its first flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
This milestone is even more significant considering that a few days ago, the SATA group airlines joined the European Union’s Zero Emissions Aviation Alliance, an initiative aimed precisely at decarbonizing the sector by 2050.
Azores Airlines’ first commercial flight fueled with SAF connected Lisbon and Ponta Delgada, a 1,500 km flight, in an Airbus A320 named UNIQUE with CS-TKK registration. The aircraft took off from Lisbon airport at 19h25 local time and landed at Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, at 21h30 local time.
The fuel used on this route was a blend with 39% SAF (HEFA), which resulted in a 35% reduction in total CO2e emissions.
The preparation and monitoring of this first sustainable commercial flight involved the energy partners GALP and Neste, two leading innovators in biofuels, and Carlyle Aviation Partners, a company specializing in aircraft management and lessor of the CS-TKK UNIQUE aircraft operated by Azores Airlines. Together with the technical teams of Azores Airlines, the partners ensured the feasibility of this operation.
SAF has the advantage of offering similar performance to traditional jet fuel and can be used in the same engines as fossil fuel. It has a significantly lower carbon footprint, with greenhouse gas emission reductions of up to 80% over the life cycle of the fuel, compared to using fossil jet fuel.
Neste’s SAF is produced from 100% sustainably sourced renewable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. Neste will have an annual SAF production capacity of 1.5 million tons per annum by the end of 2023, ready to support SATA and other airlines. Placing itself as a strategic SAF supplier, Galp plans to produce SAF as part of the transformation of Sines into a Green Energy Park.
 Calculated with established life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies, such as CORSIA methodology.