AirAsia Group Bhd (AirAsia) is keen on using palm oil as part of its sustainable programme to develop biofuel-powered flights in the future.AirAsia founder and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the low-cost carrier (LCC) is in the midst of conducting a research on palm oil-related biofuel with various research companies and the Ministry of Primary Industries to study the compatibility of the vegetable oil.
"This is because palm oil has a different level of viscosity as it burns differently at 30,000 ft."We do not think the plan is far away as we work with the ministry and various companies to find ways to get biofuel into our plane."We are the big supporter for palm oil. Our aim at AirAsia is to use a large proportion of our jet fuel as biofuel," he said.Fernandes said carbon emission has becoming a much bigger topic in the aviation sector as part of the initiative to reduce emission.“We have been the head of the game in reducing carbon emission. Airlines industry adds about two per cent to carbon emission.
“We will do our best to reduce carbon emission and biofuel is one of the ways. We also have sustainable department with new plans and biofuel will be one of those plans,” he added.New Straits Times previously reported AirAsia will be introduce biofuel-powered flight in the future backed by the airline’s initiated research and developments (R&D) supported by Airbus SE.Market observers believe the move likely to cut the group’s jet fuel cost and reduce carbon emissions.Fernandes said such R&D into the aviation biofuels technology requires a lot of work involving comprehensive study on how the alternative fuel burns compared with the conventional kerosene jet fuels.
He said technical support from airframe maker Airbus SE would facilitate the airline’s initiative to develop its aviation biofuels.The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said carbon emissions per passenger have declined more than 50 per cent since 1990.It added the global airlines sector achieved fuel efficiency improvement of 2.3 per cent annually over the period since 2009, some 0.8 percentage points ahead of target.This progress is a combination of investments in more efficient aircraft and operational efficiencies.“Cutting per passenger emissions in half is an amazing achievement of the technical expertise and innovation in the aviation industry.“But we have even bigger ambitions.
From 2020 we will cap net emissions. And by 2050 we will cut emissions to half 2005 levels. Accomplishing these targets means continued investment in new technology, sustainable fuels, and operational improvements,” said IATA director general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac.He said airlines have invested some US$1 trillion in new aircraft since 2009, and in addition have signed forward purchase agreements for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) amounting to approximately US$6 billion.He said the introduction of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) will ensure carbon-neutral growth on international flights from 2020 and raise around U$40 billion in climate finance.