KLM launches transatlantic biofuel flights from Amsterdam to Aruba and Bonaire


Today, KLM will launch a series of biofuel flights to Aruba and Bonaire over a six-month period, operating an Airbus 330-200. The biofuel for this flight was sourced by ITAKA and supplied by SkyNRG. This marks another step forward on the journey to more sustainable aviation, by reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption through enhanced engine performance and utilising lighter, more efficient aircraft.

At Aruba Airport, Mike Eman, Prime Minister of Aruba, will welcome this special flight carrying Camiel Eurlings, President & CEO KLM, Jos Nijhuis, CEO Schiphol Group, Paul Riemens, CEO LVNL and chair of CANSO, Johan van de Gronden, CEO of WWF-NL, Andrea Debbane, Head of Environmental Affairs Airbus Group, and Paul Verhoef, Head of Unit Renewable Energy Resources of the European Commission.

Camiel Eurlings: “I am proud that once again KLM is demonstrating its pioneering role in the development and commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuels, together with new partners the European Commission and Airbus. This new series of biofuel flights to Aruba and Bonaire follow the New York series of last year and the launch of the Bioport Holland collaboration for which we recently received a Sustainable Bio Award. This reaffirms why, together with Air France, we have been ranked the most sustainable airline (DJSI*) for nine consecutive years.”

KLM also cooperated with the World Wide Fund for Nature in the Netherlands (WWF-NL) within the context of these flights, expanding on the partnership it entered into in 2007 to promote more sustainable aviation.

Recently, KLM’s Corporate BioFuel programme grew to include two new partners: Friesland Campina and Ricoh. This will enable the companies to fly on sustainable biofuel for a portion of their total flight volume, or on specific routes, thereby stimulating the further development of biofuel and reducing the aviation industry’s carbon footprint.

KLM and the Dutch government chose Aruba and Bonaire as the best destination for these flights because both islands have a high sustainability agenda, aiming to be carbon neutral by 2020. The European Commission and KLM will use this series to demonstrate the potential of biofuel for air travel and their contribution towards reducing the environmental impact of aviation.

The European Commission supports the ITAKA** project through research grant funding, aimed at delivering technological breakthrough developments and the first time demonstration of the entire value chain for the production, distribution and use of aviation biofuel, thereby shortening the time to market for new and cleaner solutions. This will bring the commercialisation of alternative energy sources for air travel ever closer.

Biometrics and pre-clearance

On arrival, a special project group including people from KLM, Aruba and Schiphol Group will present a demonstration of a combined biometrics and pre-clearance project. The project is set to go live by the end of 2014.

The biometrics project makes it possible for passengers to scan their passport and boarding pass on arrival at Aruba airport and to link this to a picture of their face. Passengers can then pass through all the steps at the airport (baggage drop-off, border control and boarding) simply by showing their face to a camera and then boarding the aircraft. This project is set to go live at the end of 2014 for a small group of passengers travelling from Aruba to Europe.

By the end of 2015, passengers will be able to travel from Aruba to Schiphol after only a passport check on Aruba. This means that they will have been pre-cleared on Aruba for all Schengen countries and will not have to be check in for a second time upon arrival at Schiphol.

Green Aruba Challenge

Ahead of the trip to Aruba, KLM and Green Aruba launched the Green Aruba Challenge, an initiative of KLM Innovations, directed at looking for promising sustainable solutions for a better world that can be implemented on Aruba with support from KLM. In April, KLM challenged innovators to send their concepts to the platform.

The Green Aruba Challenge represents a perfect match between KLM and Aruba, because of Aruba’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2020 and KLM’s ambition to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020.

The submitters of the five best concepts have been invited by KLM and Aruba to present their ideas to a panel of judges consisting of Mike Eman, Camiel Eurlings, several CEO’s and high-level local experts on 17 May on Aruba. The government will offer 2x2 weeks business support on Aruba to the winner, in order to ensure that the concept can be implemented as soon as possible.


Some of the delegates will fly on to Bonaire to visit and experience one of the protected natural areas supported by KLM since 2011.

Climate change is a threat to mankind and planet alike. What’s more, KLM recognises that CO2 emissions play a crucial role in this context. KLM joined WWF-NL in partnership in 2007 and endorses its objectives directed at protecting nature and combatting climate change. At the same time, WWF-NL supports KLM on the road to sustainable biofuel.


* DJSI: Dow Jones Sustainability Index, listing the most efficient companies in terms of sustainable development, selected by RobecoSAM, an international asset management firm which assesses companies’ sustainability performance.

** ITAKA: Initiative Towards SustAinable Kerosene for Aviation. A consortium of leading aerospace and fuel companies launched to produce sustainable biofuel for use in aviation. Funded by the European Commission, ITAKA is a collaborative project aimed at producing sustainable renewable aviation fuel and testing its use in existing logistics systems and normal flight operations across Europe.