Boeing, South African Airways and Mango Airlines yesterday celebrated Africa's first passenger flights with sustainable aviation biofuel. The flights coincided with Boeing's 100th anniversary and centennial celebrations.
The SAA and Mango flights carried 300 passengers from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Boeing 737-800s using a blend of 30 percent aviation biofuel produced from Sunchem's nicotine-free tobacco plant Solaris, refined by AltAir Fuels and supplied by SkyNRG.
In 2013, Boeing and SAA launched their sustainable aviation fuels collaboration and in 2014, Project Solaris became the first focus project that converted oil from the Solaris plant seed into bio-jet fuel.
In 2015, farms in Limpopo Province of South Africa, from which the biofuel for today's flights was sourced, achieved certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), one of the strongest sustainability standards in the world.
The partners also launched a stakeholder and sustainability plan called the Southern Africa Sustainable Fuel Initiative (SASFI) to ensure a long-term domestic fuel supply for SAA and other regional fuel users.
Studies have shown that sustainably produced aviation biofuel emits 50 to 80 percent lower carbon through its life cycle than fossil jet fuel.
Airlines around the world have conducted more than 2,500 passenger flights using various forms of aviation biofuel since it was approved for commercial use in 2011.