Russian carriers including Aeroflot, S7 Group and Volga-Dnepr Airlines are to co-operate with Airbus and energy firm Gazprom to create an alliance to support development of sustainable aviation fuels.
The Eurasian SAF Alliance aims to carry out the first biofuel-powered flight no later than 2024.
Fuel specialist Gazprom Neft says the alliance will include Russia’s state civil aviation research institute and the Zhukovsky national research centre.
It states that it intends to ensure the use of environmentally-friendly aviation fuel, in line with international standards, at Russian airports.
Gazprom Neft, which will utilize its technology centre in St Petersburg, will produce experimental batches of sustainable fuel at its Moscow and Omsk refineries.
Deputy chair Anatoly Cherner says the decarbonisation of aviation and the emergence of new regulations require “innovative technological solutions” to create low-carbon fuels.
“Gazprom Neft is actively developing the segment of environmentally-friendly products for all types of transport,” he says, adding that the combination of airlines, airframers and scientific institutes will make the process of developing Russian biofuel “more efficient”.
Aeroflot finance chief Andrei Chikhanchin says the airline is “taking a step towards the future” and “reaffirming its commitment” to environmental priorities.
“The environmental agenda is becoming one of the most important topics in aviation,” he says.
Airbus’s senior representative in Russia, Julien Franiatte, says the zero-carbon target requires the efforts of all industry players.
“As part of this alliance, we will combine our expertise to accelerate the sustainable aviation fuel certification process and promote its development in Russia,” he says. All the company’s aircraft, he adds, are already certified to fly with 50% sustainable fuel blends and Airbus is researching certification for 100% use.