Bernie Baldwin

Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA) has declared its aim to deliver a fossil-free domestic flight by 2030 and become one of the first airlines in the world to reach net-zero.

This goal is a key point in a roadmap that was developed in collaboration between the Swedish aviation industry and the government initiative Fossilfree Sweden.

A leading part of that commitment is a stage involving a new agreement with ATR and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) producer Neste, designed to achieve the certification of ATR aircraft to fly with 100% Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel – a key pillar of the industry’s decarbonisation strategy.

This move follows events last spring, when the first BRA flights took off after the airline industry’s biggest crisis since World War II, at which time BRA had set a target of halving the use of fossil fuel across its operations by 2025.

BRA, ATR and Neste are planning a demonstration flight in early 2022, flying one of the airline’s ATRs with 100% SAF in one engine and 50% SAF in the other. The companies anticipate that emissions will reduce by around 64%, and they predict that an ATR flying with 100% sustainable aviation fuel in both engines would reduce CO2 emissions by 82% on a typical BRA regional route.

Helping to further the airline’s green credentials will be Maria Fiskerud, the new sustainability manager at BRA, who in recent years has worked as a cluster leader for Fossil-free aviation 2045 and been project manager for the Nordic network for electric aviation and electric air transport projects in Sweden at RISE Service Labs.

“It is absolutely vital that aviation goes even further to decarbonise,” remarks BRA chairman, Per Braathen. “It is what we want, and what our passengers and the general public expect. However, we must be realistic and accept that it is today impossible to achieve this aim with one concrete action only. This is a process with many steps and, in the short-term, the most efficient way to reduce CO2 emissions is to increase the use of SAF.

“This is in line with our strategy to become the world’s first net-zero airline 10 year ahead of any other airline.”