More than 170 people from the business aviation industry gathered at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys on January 17, 2019 to attend a program entitled “Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability,” announcing the official launch of sustainable alternative jet fuels (SAJF) for the business aviation market, with Van Nuys being the first general aviation airport in the United States to offer the fuel on a trial basis. Among the dignitaries who attended the press conference afterward were (left to right): Bruce Parry, Environmental Director of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC); Juergen Wiese, Chair of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA); Pete Bunce, President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA); Ed Bolen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA); David Coleal, President of Bombardier Business Jets and head of GAMA’s environment committee; Athar Khan, Secretary General of EBAA; Gary Dempsey, President of the National Air Transport Association (NATA); and Tim Obitts, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of NATA.
On January 17, 2019, Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, California was the site of the “Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Towards Sustainability” event, a program intended to demonstrate the business jet industry’s commitment to advancing the development and adoption of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF). The all-day event was sponsored by a coalition of industry organizations including the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transport Association (NATA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and was hosted by the Van Nuys Airport Association (VNAA). The event was designed to both educate and demonstrate to the business aviation community the benefits of SAJF, which, beginning in 2020, will ultimately lead to a 50-percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
Three of the major business jet aircraft manufacturers, Gulfstream, Bombardier and Embraer, brought aircraft to Van Nuys to demonstrate the capabilities of SAJF, including this Bombardier Challenger 350 and Embraer Legacy 500, both of which performed demonstration flights successfully flown with the alternative fuel during the event.
According to Van Nuys Airport Association President and NATA Vice Chair Curt Castagna, the airport saw more than 140 departures of turbine-powered aircraft throughout the day, all powered by SAJF. Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Bombardier Business Jets, and Embraer Executive Jets brought a G280, Challenger 350, and Legacy 500, respectively, to perform SAJF-powered demonstration flights for the nearly 200 attendees. Private business aircraft fueling at the airport during the event also used the blended fuel.
Gathered at the luncheon held at the Airtel Hotel in Van Nuys were Michael Amalfitano, President and CEO of Embraer Executive Jets, Mark Baker, President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Stephen Hofer, President of the Aerlex Law Group, and Ed Bolen, President and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Throughout the day attendees learned about SAFJ, which is a mixture of traditional kerosene-based jet fuel with various sustainably-sourced hydrocarbons, including food stock or other materials. Attendees also experienced SAFJ on hour-long demonstration flights while a panel discussion featuring industry experts, fuel producers, distributors, and OEMs focused on the seamless drop-in nature of the fuel and its future availability.
Among those watching the takeoffs and landings of the demonstration aircraft flying on SAJF were Stephen Hofer, President of the Aerlex Law Group, Louis Seno, Chairman Emeritus of Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI), and Gary Dempsey, new President of the National Air Transport Association (NATA).
Aerlex Law Group (ALG) President Stephen Hofer attended the program and met with several industry leaders during the day. “Our clients are just as concerned about the impact of carbon-based fuel on climate change as everyone else and they are telling us they want a more environmentally friendly jet fuel,” Hofer said.
Deborah Flint, Executive Director of Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that manages both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY), speaks at a press conference at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys at the conclusion of the “Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability,” program.
“This is drop-in fuel, it is jet-A, it just comes from a different source, you can mix it in the fuel tanks,” said Charles Etter, head of environmental and regulatory affairs and technical fellow with Gulfstream. “It has better freeze point qualities to it, it has more energy density to it, it’s actually a better fuel.” Most notably, aircraft using SAJF do not require any modification, which makes it a true “drop-in” fuel, eliminating another barrier to introduction. Additionally, when SAJF is ignited, it can reduce carbon emissions by as much as 50 percent.
Nury Martinez, President Pro Tempore and a member of the Los Angeles City Council whose Sixth Council District includes Van Nuys Airport (VNY), accepts an award at the “Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability” event. Posing with Ms. Martinez are: David Coleal, President of Bombardier Business Jets and head of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) environment committee; Jack Pelton, President of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA); Athar Khan, Secretary General of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA); Bruce Parry, Environmental Director of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC); Mark Baker, President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Pete Bunce, President of GAMA; Curt Castagna, President of the Van Nuys Airport Association and Vice Chair of the National Air Transport Association (NATA); Gary Dempsey, President of NATA; Juergen Wiese, Chair of EBBA; and Ed Bolen, President of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Presently, most of the slowly growing SAJF pool is currently consumed by commercial aviation. “We don’t have the supply chain yet, so the point of today’s event is to demonstrate that the business aviation sector wants the fuel. Please give it to us, we’re ready to take it,” said NATA COO and general counsel Tim Obitts.
Signature Flight Support was one of the four fixed base operations (FBOs) at Van Nuys Airport that provided SAJF for the demonstration event and it was transported in this specially decorated tanker truck.
For more information about the general aviation industry’s commitment to promoting and using SAJF, visit http://www.futureofsustainablefuel.com/.