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Costa Rica Teams With KLM On Aviation Biofuels Program

The government of Costa Rica and the Dutch airline KLM have joined hands to combat carbon dioxide emissions. Over the coming months, they will research the possibilities of flying from San Jose (SJO) using bio-based jet fuel.

KLM launches direct service to Costa Rica. The airline last operated a direct service to San Jose in 1998. Photo courtesy KLM

On October 31, KLM and the government of Luis Guillermo Solis signed a letter of intent to ratify the cooperation, the same day KLM inaugurated its new direct flight to Costa Rica. KLM last operated a direct service to San Jose in 1998.

The San Jose (JSO) – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) flights will be twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, from November to March, operated with the most modern airplane of the KLM fleet, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, with a capacity of 294 seats.

This is the first time in the world that an airline has entered into an agreement of this kind with a country.

In the months to come, KLM will share its knowledge and expertise with the Costa Rican government in close cooperation with its partner SkyNRG.

“This cooperative effort is a new step in making civil aviation more sustainable. The greater the production – and, therefore, the greater the supply of biofuels – the lower the price will be and the more businesses will use it. KLM and Costa Rica are taking the lead, now. It would be great if other airlines, governments, and the entire biofuel supply chain took such steps,” said René de Groot, Chief Operating Officer of KLM.

“For Costa Rica, a country seeking to achieve carbon neutrality, it is very important to be the destination of KLM’s first flight. The company is concerned about the environment and is a worldwide example in the use of biofuels. Thank you for taking the lead and for showing other companies around the world that you can change customs for good of the planet. ” said Edgar Gutierrez Espeleta, the Ministro de Ambiente y Energía de Costa Rica (MINAE) –  Costa Rican Minister of Environment and Energy.

In 2009, KLM operated its first flight using biofuel, with observers on board. In 2010, KLM became the world’s first airline to operate a commercial flight using sustainable biofuel. But, soon after in 2010, the first commercial flight followed. KLM has operated more than a thousand flights using bio-based jet fuel to such places as Paris, Rio de Janeiro and from New York, and Oslo.

80% less CO2 emissions
By using sustainable biofuel, KLM can reduce its CO2 emissions by as much as 80% compared to fossil fuels. The market for sustainable biofuel, however, is far from mature, so the price is still three times higher than that of fossil fuel. KLM only purchases biofuels made from raw materials that have no negative environmental impact on biodiversity or food production. KLM is currently using sustainable biofuel made from used cooking oil (UCO).