What would be the ticket price influence of SAF?

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Feb. 9, 2023, © Leeham News: I have the last weeks described the difference between Jet fuel and SAF, or Sustainable Aviation Fuel, in my Friday Corners. We could see it has emission advantages compared with fossil Jet fuel that goes beyond the CO2 reductions it offers.

It’s a cleaner fuel where the production methods can avoid the troublesome aromatic carbon molecules that causes soot to form in jet engine exhaust. With reduced soot, the generation of contrails reduces, which is beneficial for reducing global warming.

But we could also see that SAF should be costlier to produce as the production cycle is complete. Our fossil fuel’s raw material had their CO2-absorbing plant growth millions of years ago.

So, if we mix SAF into Jet fuel at different ratios, what will be the effect on ticket prices? How much more expensive would flying be when we use SAF or other measures like CO2 emission taxes are introduced? We use our airliner performance and cost model to find out.

Figure 1. The typical short to medium-haul airliner, 737 MAX 8, we use in our calculations. Source; Leeham Co.

  • In addition to the aircraft operating costs, we must add other airline costs to understand ticket prices.
  • Then we must look at the effects of revenue management and the type of flight, domestic or long-range.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 56. SAF non-CO2 effects

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 3, 2023, ©. Leeham News: We’ve gone through the composition of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, SAF, its production, and its cost. We’ve also discussed its effect on CO2 emissions from Air Transport.

An important part of SAF’s advantages is its effect on non-CO2 emissions. It stems from its low content of Sulphur and Aromatic hydrocarbons.

Figure 1. Composition of Jet fuel. Source: CE Delft, Potential for reducing aviation non-CO2 emissions through cleaner jet fuel.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 55. Sustainable Aviation Fuel feedstocks

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 27, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we learned the main pathways to Sustainable Aviation Fuel and their production volumes for the next years.

Now we look at the feedstocks, what output we get from these, and how to safeguard the pathway is ethical and sustainable. Finally, we look at the cost of SAF until 2050.

Figure 1. The main pathways to SAF. Source: Clean Skies for Tomorrow report. Click to enlarge.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 54. Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 20, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Having introduced Sustainable Aviation Fuel, SAF, as essential for reducing Green House Gases (GHG) until 2050, we now look at how SAF is produced, what pathways from feedstock to SAF are the main ones, and what are the short and long-term potentials of the different pathways.

I was helped to grasp the area by Neste’s EVP of Renewable Aviation fuel, Thorsten Lange, who, after we met when he presented at the Airbus Summit in November (Neste is a leading SAF producer), took the time to explain the subject to me last week. He also recommended a report we use to understand SAF.

Figure 1. The mebers of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow forum. Source: The World Economic Forum.

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2023 outlook for Sustainable Aviation

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Jan. 16, 2023, © Leeham News: In the years from 2015, Sustainable Aviation awareness has grown from “something interesting, but will it be needed?” to “how do we fix the environmental issues we have fast enough.” Scientists saw what happened 20 years ago, but the general public didn’t react until it affected everyday life.

The development of more Sustainable Aviation solutions has taken a similar route. Until 2015 the changes to morph aviation into a more sustainable path were a scientific discussion. At Le Bourget Air Show 2015, Airbus presented the E-Fan (Figure 1) that would cross the English Channel the following month. It started an intense debate about sustainable propulsion concepts for aircraft.

Eight years later, where are we today, and what will happen in 2023?

Figure 1. Airbus E-Fan at the 2015 Le Bourget Air Show. Source: Wikipedia.

  • The year will witness the “separation of the wheat from the chaff.” Viable concepts will prove themselves, and thin concepts, technically or funding-wise, will fail.
  • We have a number of first flights from interesting projects. Several are in the “wheat” category.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 53. Sustainable Aviation Fuel

By Bjorn Fehrm.

January 13, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we could see in an example how effective Sustainable Aviation Fuel, SAF, blended into our regular Jet fuel, would be in reducing CO2 emissions until 2050.

It’s the only technology that can substantially influence our emissions over the next 30 years, as alternate technologies like hydrogen-fueled airliners need to ramp to thousands of aircraft before it affects emissions.

To understand SAF and how it can be produced and blended into Jet fuel, we first need to understand what Jet fuel is.


Figure 1. An Iberia A340 filled up with Jet-A1. Source: Wikipedia.

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Outlook 2023: Turboprops: Embraer and De Havilland look to future, leaving market to ATR

Embraer’s TPNG turboprop concept. A decision whether to launch the program has been delayed. Credit: Embraer.

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By Bryan Corliss

Jan. 9, 2023, © Leeham News: Turboprops should be having a moment, given all the concern about how the aviation industry is contributing to climate change. Want to cut your fuel burn by 45%? Just retire your fleet of 70-seat regional jets and replace them with turboprops.

Yet even with concerns over the environmental (and monetary) costs of operating regional jets, there hasn’t been a big move toward turboprops. In December, Embraer announced it was putting the development of a 70-to-90-seat turboprop on hold. The reason: Suppliers can’t provide it with components (meaning engines) that will provide enough of a performance increase to make a new plane worthwhile.

Meanwhile, the orphaned De Havilland Dash-8 – now owned by a rebranded De Havilland Aircraft Canada – has been out of production since mid-2021.

That leaves the Franco-Italian consortium of ATR as the only OEM likely to deliver any turboprops to airlines in 2023, 2024 – maybe even beyond.

That could change by the end of the decade, however. Embraer is working on a hybrid-electric aircraft that could be ready as soon as 2030 in 19- and 30-seat versions. And a rebranded De Havilland Canada is taking steps to restart production of the Dash-8 at a new factory site in Alberta.


  • Embraer focuses Energia on two models
  • ATR working to certify STOL version of ATR42
  • Can Dash-8 come back with new company, factory, workforce?
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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 52. What can be done before 2050?

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 6, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Since we started this series about our Air Transports and their pollution, we have covered different schemes of reduction such as improved Air Traffic Control (ATC), change to electric aircraft (battery/hybrids) or hydrogen as fuel, and lastly, eVTOLs.

Of these changes, only ATC can have a short-term effect, but it’s a slow mover for organizational reasons.

Changes to how our aircraft are propelled are, unfortunately, longer-term improvements, as we see in an example below.

But we need fast change. We’ve had the craziest of summer and now winter in Europe, where I live, and it’s not a one-time variation. And this is not confined to Europe; the weather change is faster than we thought, and it’s worldwide.

So what can we do?

Figure 1. CO2 emissions by region. Source: Our World in Data.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 51. eVTOL wrap.

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 23, 2022, ©. Leeham News: After 25 articles about the eVTOL, it’s time for a wrap. We have looked at most aspects of this new form of air transportation, including how sustainable it is.

Today we summarize what we found before we go on to the next subject in Sustainable Air Transport.

Figure 1. The series started with a picture of the eVTOL that leads the trend, Joby Aviation’s S4. Source: Joby Aviation.

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Universal Hydrogen’s ATR72 Project

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Dec. 22, 2022, © Leeham News: Last week, we wrote about Universal Hydrogen’s (UH2) plans to fly a hydrogen-fueled demonstrator aircraft in early 2023, followed by a certified conversion kit for an ATR72 airliner mid-decade.

The plans for the ATR72 hydrogen conversion are at an advanced state. As the first publication, we can describe the overall design and the technical details. The ATR72 implementation brings improvements in several areas compared with what’s been revealed before.

Figure 1. Hydrogen tank modules are loaded onto an ATR 72 using standard freight handling equipment. Source: Universal Hydrogen.

  • The target ATR72 conversion improves hydrogen capacity and handling compared to earlier concepts.
  • The influence on the ATR seating capacity is reduced due to more efficient packaging on the aircraft.

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