Shell and Lufthansa agree on SAF collaboration

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Lufthansa Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shell to explore a supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at airports around the world. The agreement could see the SAF supply reach up to 594 million gallons in total from 2024 until 2030. The agreement could mark one of the most significant collaborations for SAF in the aviation sector and Shell’s largest SAF commitment to date.

The potential SAF to be supplied by Shell will be produced by up to four different approved technology pathways and a broad range of sustainable feedstocks.

Jan Toschka, President Shell Aviation, commented: “It is encouraging to see large flagship carriers coming to us to discuss SAF supply deals, knowing there will be a lot of things to be defined and determined at a later stage, including established price markers. SAF is the most significant way to decarbonise aviation over the decades to come. Our relationship goes beyond commercial arrangements – it is strategic and aligned regarding the view that SAF holds the key to achieving a sustainable aviation future. The potential SAF purchase agreement contemplated under the MoU, by its anticipated volume size, term period and geographic scope, is expected to be a milestone if concluded and shows the way forward for decarbonisation in the aviation industry.”

Katja Kleffman, Head of Fuel Management Supply Lufthansa Group added: “As an industry we have to work jointly towards making flying more sustainable and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Shell is very experienced with the global handling of Jet fuel and that is one key element for our trust for smooth operations of SAF, too.”

The agreement is part of Shell’s ambition to have at least 10% of its global aviation fuel sales as SAF by 2030 and on the Lufthansa Group’s ambition to drive the availability, the market ramp-up and the use of SAF as a core element of its sustainability strategy.


PTEParis: Collins Aerospace showcases recently acquired FlightAware

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Having acquired the digital aviation company, FlightAware, at the end of 2021 Collins Aerospace has been showcasing how data analytics and machine learning can improve decision making and enhance overall airport operations during this week’s Passenger Terminal Expo (PTE) in Paris.

FlightAware provides global flight tracking solutions, as well as predictive technology, analytics and decision-making tools, all of which are helping Collins unlock the full power of the connected ecosystem for its airport and airline customers. The FlightAware platform taps into data from hundreds of sources including its own terrestrial ADS-B network comprising thousands of receivers around the world to provide new insights to airports, explained Paul Gibson, Vice President, Product at FlightAware.

“Our product is mostly data, we power applications from lots of other companies, but our relationship with airports has historically tended to be more indirect,” he told Regional Gateway.

Explaining that as a flight tracking company FlightAware’s tag line is “we’re central to aviation”, Gibson added, “We’ve kept every bit of data in the 12 years since we started.” The company tracks flights from schedule through take-off and landing including any cancellations, changes etc. all of which is captured in its data. “Now we’re combining our historical flight tracking data with live flight data to create machine learning based predictions, which are both accurate and stable. From an airport perspective the value proposition is we can tell them with a high degree of accuracy when an aircraft will arrive two or three hours out from that flight’s actual arrival time. In a nutshell, this gives airports time to plan and allocate resources more efficiently.”

For any airport, but particularly those currently struggling with limited resources  and staff shortages, having access to this sort of data is incredibly powerful, underlines Gibson. “It enables them to see into the future.” He adds, there’s also a sustainability angle to consider. “If you’re able to accurately predict an aircraft’s take-off or arrival time then you reduce the need for aircraft to sit idle on a tarmac for more time than is necessary, so you’re also cutting down on CO2 emissions.”

Going forward, the plan is to integrate FligthAware’s data into as many of Collins’ applications as possible. “Working together with Collins we can do a lot more. It also means while we focus on our core strength, which is the data, Collins can focus on creating specialist applications for airports or airlines because they already have that expertise.”

Alongside FlightAware Collins is also showcasing its full range of solutions and cloud-based platforms that enable the development of connected, seamless and sustainable airports at this year’s PTE.

GSE Expo: ATS offers innovative and ‘greener’ alternative to traditional aircraft tugging and taxiing

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With aviation contributing around 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2019, this figure is expected to increase to 22% by 2019 according to a report titled Decarbonising Aviation: Cleared for Take Off, published by Shell in association with Deloitte.

A new system from Oklahoma-based Aircraft Towing Systems World Wide (ATS) is set to tackle this issue from the ground up by helping airports become greener as well as helping airliners reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. It has been showcasing its concept this week during the GSE Expo that uses electric tow vehicles that run along below-grade tracks on airport ramps and taxiways to pull aircraft from the taxiway to the terminal. A prototype of the technology is currently being installed at the Ardmore Industrial Airpark in Ardmore, Oklahoma and is due to be completed before the end of the year.

By moving aircraft using electric tow cars, the safety-enhancing, fuel-saving and environmentally friendly technology not only saves fuel but slashes emissions and reduces noise pollution, as pilots can turn off their engines. The system also reduces collisions and incursions because it follows a track as aircraft are moved to and from the terminal.

Based on ATS World Wide’s calculations if the ATS system was installed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, airliners would be able to save $491 million in fuel consumption per year. If O’Hare were to increase its landing fees to equate just 50% of the fuel savings, O’Hare could establish a way to cover the costs of the ATS installation and ultimately generate revenue for the airport. Airliners would be happy because they’d still be benefitting from close to $250 million in fuel savings. The carbon emissions reductions associated with the lower fuel usage will also enable O’Hare to earn emission credits that could then be sold on global emission markets; based on current prices ATS estimate O’Hare being able to generate and additional $3.2 million in revenue from the sale of these credits.

According to ATS, it would not have been able to develop the technology if it weren’t for advances in electric motor development; their small sizes today can easily be integrated within the underground channel and they are powerful enough to tow aircrafts.