VistaJet announces new sustainable biofuel partnership, updates on sustainability pledge
VistaJet, the first and only global business aviation company, announced Sept. 23 the progress it has made on its Sustainability in Aviation pledge, launched in January 2020, to rapidly and meaningfully reduce its carbon footprint, and to explore all routes to higher levels of sustainability. The company also announced a market-leading partnership with SkyNRG, pioneer and global leader for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The SAF industry has made advancements since its inception, yet the availability of sustainable fuels for jet airplanes is still limited due to financial, technical and regulatory reasons. With air travel centered around hubs and the 20 busiest airports in the world handling nearly one-fifth of all air passenger traffic, this should make it easier for the new energy source to be fully adopted by operators. However, a decade after their introduction, there are only a few hubs globally where SAF is available and it still only accounts for less than 0.1 percent of total aviation fuel consumption.
As a fundamental step to further increase sustainability, VistaJet has signed a new partnership with SkyNRG, offering all VistaJet customers around the world access to SAF. This will promote substantial reductions in aviation carbon emissions and increase stable demand and availability around the world. Partnering with SkyNRG will offer VistaJet customers the most sustainable, cost-effective and scalable solution to decarbonize their flights, while helping to grow adoption across the entire industry.
As a core component of the Sustainability in Aviation program, VistaJet undertook a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions audit with South Pole, an award-winning project developer and global provider of climate action solutions. To coincide with Climate Week NYC, VistaJet provides its first progress update on its eight pillars of sustainability, and key findings are as follows:
VistaJet's Carbon Offset Program―Since introducing the Sustainability in Aviation pledge, 80 percent of VistaJet members have opted in to compensate for their fuel use-related emissions by investing in certified carbon credits around the world. This meaningful step has allowed VistaJet, with the help of South Pole, to already offset almost 100,000 tons of CO2 (tCO2) on behalf of its customers―equivalent to more than 21,600 passenger vehicles driven for one year or over 12.7 billion smartphones charged. Additionally, through the EU ETS, emissions of all flights between European countries will be offset by April 2021, which between January to August 2020 totals 21,500 tCO2.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel―The VistaJet brand's main emission source is aviation fuel, representing 89 percent of the total GHG emissions and comprising emissions from the production, processing, delivery and combustion of aviation fuel. While offsetting indirectly reduces carbon footprint, using a fuel with a lower carbon intensity would significantly and directly reduce the industry's emissions―in its neat form the use of SAF can reduce carbon emissions by up to 85 percent compared to conventional jet fuel. VistaJet's innovative new plan will secure SAF availability for its customers globally―sourced and delivered by SkyNRG from World Energy's refinery―supporting fast adoption of this crucially important energy solution.
Most Technologically Advanced Aircraft―VistaJet's shared fleet model means less aircraft being produced and enables higher utilization of each existing jet. VistaJet's global infrastructure also allows for a reduction in repositioning flights. Additionally, the company's young fleet benefits from the latest technology for the most efficient flying and secures better fuel burn than older aircraft. Its new Global 7500 fleet is the most technologically advanced aircraft available today. The aircraft was manufactured with design for the environment in mind, including its new GE Passport engines that produce less noise and fuel consumption of approximately 2.5 liters per functional unit―and even lower for some longer-range missions. Its high-speed transonic wing cuts down on drag, further reducing fuel burn and emissions.
Fuel Consumption Reduction Technology―VistaJet Ltd. launched a comprehensive program to automate flight optimization and global fleet management. Through investment in AI and machine-learning technology, the company is working on predictive route algorithms to minimize ferry flights and reduce fuel consumption. To date, using the FLIGHTKEYS 5D flight management system, the company has been able optimize route, level and speed to reduce fuel consumption by 8 percent per flight. The heightened system automation allows VistaJet dispatchers to increase efficiency in flight replanning, while 3D optimization in congested airspace minimized the possibility of slot issues and delays.
Fuel Efficient Booking System―Booking with at least one week's notice helps to further improve fleet management, reducing unnecessary fuel burn. For VistaJet Members, the early booking program can mean a discount on their rates and is available as an option for new contracts. Customers who are more flexible on departure city airport selection have already helped to reduce movement around London airports by 20 percent in 2019, cutting several tons of CO2.
Partnering with Leaders in Sustainability―VistaJet partners with carbon neutral companies wherever possible and has implemented new requirements for all purchasing partners, including sustainability accreditation for third parties across all departments in the business. Additionally, over 100 onboard stock vendors have been contacted to introduce more sustainable products.
Sustainable In-Flight Products―VistaJet has removed more than 90 percent of single-use items across its fleet and replaced items on board with sustainable alternatives. Examples of these include packaging products using starch that fully biodegrades in one year, replacing plastic toothbrushes with those made of bamboo, sourcing low-impact detergents and cleaning products, and switching to beauty products packaged in glass. This is in addition to serving meals on porcelain and crystalware, available onboard for many years.
Moving to Renewable Electricity On-the-Ground―The extensive company audit enabled VistaJet to identify the carbon footprint of its operations and offices worldwide in order to define further GHG reduction opportunities and priorities. Electricity consumption represents 24 percent of the total emissions for VistaJet offices specifically. To decrease these levels, VistaJet has adopted electricity supplied from renewable sources for two of its largest offices and is assessing solutions for the others. Further schemes such as cycle to work and flexible location working are being rolled out to decrease employee emissions.
Next Steps for the Industry: VistaJet's Call to Action
Although private aviation plays a relatively limited role in the global landscape of carbon emissions, producing around 0.04 percent of all human-induced CO2 emissions, demand for mobility is increasing, despite a decline in passenger demand this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the aviation industry has started discussing on multiple fronts with regulators, leaders in aviation cannot wait and must lead the way by investing in all available, robust solutions to drive the transition to zero carbon. VistaJet has dedicated itself to reducing its environmental footprint and affect positive change through innovation.
"VistaJet is committed to making aviation better," said Thomas Flohr, founder and chairman of VistaJet. "Today, this means changing the way we operate, to benefit not only our customers, but the whole global community. In this spirit, I hope our private aviation partners and peers will do the same, working collaboratively to bring change faster, as this is the only way for the fragmented industry to take full responsibility for the long-term health of the planet. In addition to adhering to market-based measures and improving existing infrastructure, enhancing operational procedures and developing new technological innovations is crucial. We are positive about the future, and we believe together we can transform business aviation for the long-term good."