Russian aviation fuel operator Gazpromneft-Aero has refuelled a Ural Airlines Airbus A321 cargo aircraft at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport with a sustainable aviation fuel blend as part of a cooperation programme with the Russian air carrier. Made from renewable wastes and residues, the SAF supplied by Neste was a 35% share of the total fuel used on the flight transporting medical supplies and Covid-19 tests. Gazpromneft-Aero, a division of energy giant Gazprom Neft, said it was planning to continue supplying Ural Airlines with SAF for commercial flights at European airports. The two companies have been cooperating for 10 years and last year Gazpromneft-Aero started refuelling operations for the airline’s regular and charter flights at airports in the UK, Austria, Slovenia, Greece, Cyprus, Uzbekistan and Egypt. Also last year, the aviation fuel operator helped launch the Eurasian SAF Alliance with Ural and three other Russian airlines – Aeroflot, S7 Group and Volga-Dnepr – as well as Airbus and Russian civil aviation research institutes.
“We have become the first Russian fuel operator to provide our client with SAF for flights abroad in response to customer demand,” said Vladimir Yegorov, CEO of Gazpromneft-Aero, which sells and refuels aircraft at 321 airports in 71 countries and serves more than 150 Russian and foreign airlines.
“The use of fuels made from renewable wastes and residues is one of the most effective ways to decarbonise air travel. According to IATA forecasts, the share of SAF in global aviation fuel consumption will increase four times in the next three years. That is driven on the one hand by new environmental requirements and on the other by the desire of air carriers to reach carbon neutrality.”
Ural Airlines is one of Russia’s biggest and has been largely unaffected by the Covid pandemic, with only a very small fall in passengers and flights since 2019. It carried over 9 million passengers in 2021 on 63,380 flights, serving more than 200 routes, and operates a fleet of 52 narrowbody Airbus aircraft.
“We attach great importance to our ESG strategy and reducing CO2 emissions. Ural Airlines makes a significant contribution to reducing its carbon footprint annually by purchasing new modern Airbus aircraft with reduced emissions and the ability to be refuelled with SAF,” commented the airline’s General Director, Sergey Skuratov.
“The use of environmentally friendlier fuel is another step towards achieving this goal. Today, green refuelling is possible only at a limited number of airports abroad where the airline performs flights. With the start of SAF production in Russia, we will be able to talk about clear plans for the volume of green fuel consumption.”
Last October, Gazprom Neft signed an agreement with flag carrier Aeroflot to jointly develop the production and use of SAF in Russia (see article). The company said the development of domestically produced SAF would take place at its main research site, the Industrial Innovations Technology Centre in St Petersburg.
Photo (Gazpromneft-Aero): Ural Airlines Airbus A321 aircraft takes on SAF blended fuel at Amsterdam Schiphol