ATR and Sweden's BRA perform first ATR biofuel flight

February 1, 2017 Photo(s): By ATR
  • ATR continuously invests in innovative solutions to constantly reduce environmental footprint of its aircraft
  • ATR supports its customers deploying sustainable operations with alternative fuels

An ATR 72-600 of the Swedish carrier BRA (former Braathens Regional) took off from Stockholm-Bromma today to Umeå fueled at 45% with fossil-free used cooking oil, marking the first biofuel-powered flight of an ATR aircraft.

BRA provides an essential air service to link their main hub of Stockholm-Bromma to twelve Swedish regions. The ATRs of BRA provide an unrivaled performance advantage in months with adverse weather conditions. The airline is particularly committed to environmental preservation and has already started replacing their Saab 2000s with modern ATR 72-600s, recognized as the most fuel-efficient aircraft on the regional market.

Several research and development initiatives are currently underway in Sweden to produce biofuels from different types of wood. In Sweden, forests cover more than 50% of the country, and grow at a rate of 120 million cubic meters annually. Making domestic air traffic in Sweden completely fossil-free would require less than 2% of the total annual forest growth.

Thanks to its lighter structure, optimized speed and engines designed for short routes, ATR aircraft already demonstrate the best environmental performance in its segment. Nonetheless, ATR continues to invest in virtuous technologies and contributes to European research and development efforts to take advances in environmental performance even further. ATR encourages the use of alternative fuels and offers support to customers and local governments in developing a comprehensive business plan, from fuel selection to routing, certification and availability for seamless airline operations.

Christian Clemens, Chief Executive Officer of BRA, declared: "Sweden is currently debating a new tax on aviation. It will have a minimal impact on emissions, and will unfortunately slow down the pace in which we can continue to make aviation more sustainable. The ATR 72-600, especially if powered by biofuel, is the optimal transportation on many of our routes and features the highest standards of environmental care."

Christian Scherer, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, declared: "Today's challenge is to get a large-scale production of biofuels at affordable costs while avoiding a negative impact on the environment. Swedish airlines like BRA can take advantage of the massive expansion of its forests, along with the operation of fuel-efficient turboprops, to reach the ambitious goal of halving their CO2 emissions by 2025."