Finnair will operate its first commercial biofuel flight today when it takes off from Amsterdam Schiphol for Helsinki with an Airbus A319 partially-powered by fuel derived from used cooking oil.

The flight is scheduled to depart Amsterdam at 18:50 local time and arrive in the Finnish capital at 22:10.

Both of the A319's engines will run on a 50:50 blend of regular kerosene and biofuel derived from cooking oil that was previously used in restaurants.

Finnair has sourced the fuel from SkyNRG, a consortium launched by KLM, North Sea Group and Spring Associates.

The carrier plans to operate four flights over the next few weeks using the same type of fuel.

"Biofuel use is still not financially sustainable because biofuel is more expensive than ordinary aviation fuel and no large-scale production or distribution has yet been established," said Finnair vice-president sustainable development Kati Ihamäki.

Despite this, airlines have recently been claiming a series of firsts in the use of biofuel, with Finnair laying claim to operating "the world's longest commercial flight to date using biofuel".

KLM became the first airline to operate a commercial biofuel flight on 29 June, but is not scheduled to operate any further such flights until September.

Lufthansa on 15 July became the first airline to begin regular scheduled commercial biofuel flights when it began a programme of 1,200 biofuel flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news