Air France-KLM reaffirms its commitment to the decarbonization of aviation through the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Already the world’s first SAF user, the Group continues to secure the volumes needed to meet its 2030 incorporation targets.
- In 2023, the Air France-KLM Group’s airlines will have incorporated around 80,000 metric tons of SAF – nearly double the amount in 2022 – making the Group the world’s largest SAF user for the second year in a row.
- Throughout the year, the Group continued to secure future SAF supplies to meet its target of a minimum of 10% incorporation of SAF by 2030 by signing offtake agreements and MoUs with SAF producers around the world, and by investing directly in SAF production capabilities.
- These long-term, strategic investments confirm the Group’s commitment to supporting the emergence of a scalable network of SAF production capabilities in Europe and worldwide.
Fully committed to the reduction of its environmental impact, Air France-KLM aims to lead the way in the incorporation of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and to support the development of SAF production capabilities around the world. The Group has set itself ambitious targets that exceed regulatory requirements, namely a reduction of CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 30% by 2030 compared to 2019, and the incorporation of a minimum of 10% of SAF by the same date. The Group plans to achieve these targets via three main levers: fleet renewal, the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and operational measures.
In 2022, Air France-KLM was the world’s largest SAF user, accounting for 17% of the world’s SAF production, while it consumed only 3% of global kerosene production. In October 2022, Air France-KLM announced having secured one third of its 2030 needs thanks to landmark offtake agreements with Neste and DG Fuels, covering a total of 1.6 million tons of SAF.
In 2023, the Group maintained this dynamic by:
- increasing the volume of SAF incorporated, making Air France-KLM once again the world’s largest SAF user,
- securing future SAF supplies through offtake agreements and MoUs,
- signing strategic partnerships and investing in SAF production capabilities,
- raising awareness around the potential but also the challenges associated with SAF,
- engaging its customers – individual and corporate – through dedicated SAF programs.
- Increasing the volume of SAF incorporated
In 2023, the Air France-KLM Group’s airlines incorporated around 80,000 metric tons of SAF, almost doubling from 2022 levels. This represents a 1% incorporation rate (compared to 0.6% in 2022). With this amount, and based on the data available to this day, Air France-KLM expects to be once again the world’s largest SAF user, accounting for around 16% of world’s SAF production.
- Securing future SAF supplies through offtake agreements and MoUs
In 2023, Air France-KLM signed several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with SAF producers around the world to secure the future SAF volumes required to meet its 2030 targets. By partnering with suppliers working on different SAF technologies (HEFA, advanced aviation biofuels and e-fuels) and based in different geographical regions, Air France-KLM aims to build a worldwide network of SAF production capable of meeting its own needs and those of the industry in the long-term. The Group’s sourcing initiatives are in line with the goal of keeping flexibility in volumes to match actual demand levels.
MoUs were notably signed with Engie (KerEauzen project, France), EDF (Take Kair project, France), Elyse Energy (BioTfuel project, France), TotalEnergies (France), OMV (Austria), Raven (USA) and Groupe International SAF + (Canada), as well as with other SAF producers and energy providers based in Europe, North and South America.
These MoUs concern production projects and facilities at different stages of maturity. They stimulate the SAF industry by providing producers with visibility and outlets for their future production, helping them secure financing. The Group is particularly attentive to the development of SAF production capacities in its home markets, an essential means of addressing one of the main challenges associated with SAF: availability.
- Signing strategic partnerships and investing in SAF production capabilities
Since its first SAF-powered flight back in 2011, Air France-KLM has established strong partnerships with energy providers, and has even made direct financial investments. KLM notably partnered with SAF producer SkyNRG, effectively supporting the establishment in 2019 of a first production plant in Delfzijl (The Netherlands) through a €6m investment.
In November 2023, Air France-KLM reinforced its cooperation with DG Fuels through a $4.7m investment made by Air France into the SAF producer. Along with this investment, the Group acquired an option to purchase an additional 75,000 tons of SAF from DG Fuels over a multi-year period beginning in 2029.
- Raising awareness around the potential but also the challenges associated with SAF
In April 2023, KLM successfully conducted tests that confirm that it is safe to run aircraft engines on 100% SAF. The engine tests were carried out in partnership with engine manufacturer CFM International and fuel producer Neste.
In June 2023, Air France-KLM held a first SAF Masterclass, gathering experts and professionals from the SAF industry in an event aimed at media and investors. On that occasion, the various speakers reaffirmed the need to raise awareness among the general public about the challenges tied to SAF as well as the opportunities it brings in terms of job and value creation as well as energy independence. The full content presented on that day can be consulted here.
In a context of legitimate concern over the environmental impact of aviation, it is essential that all audiences be aware that while SAF is already a reality, the path to a functioning and fully operational industry will require joint efforts from all stakeholders across the aviation value chain – including government bodies.
- Engaging customers – individual and corporate – through dedicated SAF programs
Air France-KLM aims to provide all its customers with options to contribute to the decarbonization of aviation. The Group developed several industry-leading programs and initiatives which come on top of the SAF contribution already integrated in each ticket sold since January 2022.
- Individual customers can opt for the “environmental option”, when booking tickets, which allows them to purchase volumes of SAF based on the fuel consumption of their journey.
- Corporate customers can participate in the Corporate SAF Program. Based on the CO2 emissions generated by their staff’s travels, companies can determine an annual contribution which is then invested in the purchase and use of SAF. In 2023, 116 Corporate SAF contracts were signed worldwide, resulting in the purchase of 11,000 tons of SAF. 188 SME/SMIs members of Air France-KLM’s BlueBiz program also joined the initiative. Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, the Group’s cargo division, runs a similar program that was joined by 29 freight forwarders and customers in 2023.
- Since 2022, all members of Flying Blue, Air France-KLM’s frequent-flyer program have the option to purchase SAF using their Miles. These contributions also count towards earning or maintaining Flying Blue’s Elite status. Flying Blue was the first loyalty program in the travel industry to structurally introduce such a choice to earn status.
- In 2023, worldwide SAF production has reached over 0.5Mt, double the 0.25 Mt produced in 2022.
- SAF accounted for 3% of all renewable fuels produced, with 97% of renewable fuel production going to other sectors.
- In 2024 SAF production is expected to reach 1.5Mt.
Source: IATA estimates, 2023
About Air France-KLM’s SAF sourcing policy:
- Sustainable aviation fuel is currently made from used cooking oils, waste or agricultural and forestry residues. In the future, sustainable synthetic aviation fuel will also be available, made from hydrogen and carbon captured from the atmosphere.
- Air France-KLM adheres to a strict sourcing policy, committing to purchasing second generation SAF that does not compete with food or feed, are RSB or ISCC+ certified for their sustainability, and is not produced from palm oil. Compared to conventional fuel, Air France-KLM’s SAF achieve a CO₂ emissions reduction of up to 75% over the entire fuel lifecycle.
 Based on IATA data available as of December 13, 2023.