Airtime Blog

3 tips for making your flight operations more sustainable

By PRATT & WHITNEY CUSTOMER SERVICE
September 27, 2021 | Customers, Performance, Technology | 4 min read
With the aviation industry embracing sustainability, the shift toward greener operations is gaining momentum. What can you do to reduce your environmental impact today? Here are three suggestions from our experts.

1. Reduce your carbon footprint with SAF

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is one of the solutions available today for in-service engines to address the decarbonization challenge. SAF, made from by-products of other industries, supports carbon reduction by drastically reducing CO2 emissions across its life cycle compared to conventional fossil-based jet fuel.

If used alone, SAF can reduce emissions by up to 80%. In its pure form, however, it is not yet able to meet the standards set by the aviation industry. It therefore cannot be used as a standalone product. Instead, it’s blended with conventional jet fuel, typically in proportions ranging from 30% SAF and 70% jet fuel to a maximum 50-50 blend per today’s permitted standards.

“While a SAF blend is not emission-free, it provides an important alternative to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel while using existing gas turbine technology,” says Corey Vann, Global Environmental Sustainability Manager, Pratt & Whitney. “It has the same characteristics and delivers the same performance as conventional fuel, so it’s transparent to the aircraft.” 


“Starting in 2006, Pratt & Whitney has done a lot of testing to verify that blended SAF is acceptable for use with our engines, and we have worked closely with industry regulators to develop today’s standards that allow drop-in use of blended SAF.”
Corey Vann, Global Environmental Sustainability Manager, Pratt & Whitney.

SAF is available from many major airports and fixed-base operators, especially in North America and Europe. To obtain SAF, contact your fuel distributor to find out what options are available.

Customers always have to adhere to their aircraft and engine technical publications to make sure the blend they plan to use is acceptable. “In most cases, it will meet the requirements, so you then just have to pour it in,” notes Corey.

2. Consider using SAF with the “book-and-claim” method

Although the use of SAF is increasing in the aviation industry and expected to become much more common in the medium term, it currently represents much less than 1% of all aviation fuel used. It is readily available in some locations but has to be shipped in to others. 

This presents a dilemma, since the environmental benefit of a “green product” such as SAF is diminished if it must be transported long distances by truck before it can be used. Consuming SAF close to where it is produced is key to minimizing your carbon footprint.

That’s where “book-and-claim” comes in. This is an emerging practice in the aviation field. Similar in principle to systems such as renewable energy certificates, this mechanism involves SAF being purchased by one customer and used by another. 

This method allows operators who do not have local access to SAF to pay for it, recognize or “claim” the environmental benefits as their own, linked to their operations – and ensure conventional fuel is replaced by a sustainable alternative in another aircraft, as explained by François-Etienne Rhéaume, Senior Manager, Business Development, Aftermarket Services, Pratt & Whitney Canada.

Book-and-claim is an attractive option for individuals and companies who want to be sustainability leaders and promote climate-positive action but may not always have access to SAF at the airports they use. It also typically reduces SAF transportation, and the emissions associated with it.
François-Etienne Rhéaume, Senior Manager, Business Development, Aftermarket Services, Pratt & Whitney Canada

3. Become carbon neutral by using an offset program

If you want to become a carbon-neutral aviation operator, you can do so by offsetting your emissions so that your emissions impact on the environment is reduced.

In 2020, Pratt & Whitney Canada launched a Carbon Offset Service for business jet customers enrolled in its Eagle Service™ Plan (ESP™) maintenance program, making it the first engine manufacturer to offer this type of service. As a result of the positive response, the company is now also expanding its availability to helicopter customers enrolled in ESP™.

“With this service, we estimate your aircraft emissions and compensate them by obtaining carbon offset credits from South Pole, a leading supplier of sustainable solutions. You pay a small fee based on the number of hours you fly,” explains François-Etienne.

The fees are used to fund independently-certified and monitored sustainability projects that provide meaningful social and economic benefits in addition to their carbon-offsetting impacts. Operators receive a certificate each year attesting to their participation in the service and allowing them to claim carbon-neutral aircraft operations.
Our Carbon Offset Service is a simple, transparent, turnkey solution that allows customers to support meaningful environmental initiatives at a much lower cost than SAF. It’s a readily accessible option that contributes to long-term sustainability.
François-Etienne Rhéaume, Senior Manager, Business Development, Aftermarket Services, Pratt & Whitney Canada
Since commercially available SAF is currently blended with conventional fuel, there’s a limit to how much it can cut down on emissions. However, you can combine SAF and book-and-claim with carbon offsetting to make your operations carbon-neutral.

With Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Carbon Offset Service, it’s also possible to create a tailored program with reduced rates that factors in your use of sustainable fuel. If the fuel lowers your emissions by 40%, for instance, the offset program will cover the remaining 60%.

“SAF has a crucial role to play in sustainability, but given its current high price and limited supply, operators are also looking for other options. We encourage them to minimize their environmental impacts by optimizing their operations and using SAF and offsets from a trusted source to reduce their carbon footprint” concludes Corey.
Check out a previous Airtime article, Helping Create a Greener World Through Our Carbon Offsetting Solution, for more details on this service—the first of its kind offered by an engine OEM.