Kenya Airways (KQ) is participating in the second edition of the Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC), an initiative of SkyTeam. The initiative is a friendly competition between SkyTeam member airlines. A Kenyan Airways Boeing 787-800 (B787-8) Dreamliner took off from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol yesterday morning, and was the first Kenya Airways flight powered by Eni Sustainable Mobility’s sustainable aviation fuel. For this flight, the JetA1 fuel was mixed with Eni Biojet, produced in the Eni’s Livorno refinery by distilling the bio-components produced from the Gela biorefinery.
Eni Biojet contains 100% biogenic feedstock and is suitable for use with up to 50% of JetA1 fuel. For this flight, it was mixed with conventional jet fuel by Kenya Airways in Nairobi. KQ is working together with Eni to use sustainable aviation fuel for its flights out of the country — the SAF-fuelled Nairobi-Amsterdam flight allows KQ to gain a competitive advantage in the continent. From 2025, all aircraft departing from European airports will be required to incorporate a proportion of SAF. As a result, KQ is positioning itself to take advantage of sustainable aviation fuel momentum in accordance with the direction indicated by the European Union with the ReFuelEU Aviation regulation that sets the targets for mixing traditional fuels with increased amounts of more sustainable fuels.
Eni already markets an aviation fuel containing a 20% biogenic component — JetA1+Eni Biojet. The company has also signed agreements with national and international airlines as well as airports and logistics operators in order to supply it. As of 2024, the Venice and Gela biorefineries will begin production of Eni Biojet from renewable raw materials: it is expected to exceed 200,000 tonnes per year. This target requires a significant supply of raw materials, for which Eni is also active in developing a supply chain in Kenya to collect UCO (Used Cooking Oil) by working with companies and operators in the food sector, contributing to managing food waste as part of a circular economy, as well as a network of agri-hubs in Kenya and other African countries to produce vegetable oils from marginal lands not in competition with food chain. Eni Sustainable Mobility and Kenya Airways are working on a broader agreement for long-term collaboration.
As part of this year’s edition of the Sustainable Flight Challenge, Kenya Airways also collaborated with EvChaja, a Nairobi-based electric vehicle charging network provider, as well as BasiGo, an e-mobility company bringing the future of clean, electric public transport to sub-Saharan Africa. BasiGo is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. EvChaja and BasiGo facilitated an electric bus ride for the Kenya Airways Crew to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi before their KQ116 flight from JKIA to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
This collaboration got me thinking that we should start seeing more of this on a more permanent basis in Kenya as well as other African countries. A lot of airlines get shuttle service company buses to take their crew to and from the airport/hotels, and currently essentially all of these buses on the continent are still powered by diesel. These regular services with well known routes and schedules are perfect for electrification.
Disclosure: I have shares in EvChaja
Images by Khadeeja and Kenya Airways
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