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Seattle-Tacoma International Airport moves a step closer to funding aviation biofuels

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A report, titled Innovative Funding for Sustainable Aviation Fuel at U.S. Airports: Explored at Seattle-Tacoma International, reveals the financial tools available to U.S. airports, and outlines legal constraints and financial impacts of each tool.

SEATTLE – Carbon reduction leaders Carbon War Room (CWR) and SkyNRG join with the Port of Seattle to announce recommendations for long-term funding mechanisms that could supply all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) with sustainable aviation biofuels. 

The results are outlined in a study that reviews a broad spectrum of airport funding sources to cover the higher cost of biofuel, as well as biofuel supply chain infrastructure investments. The study, published today, was conducted by CWR and SkyNRG, in partnership with the Port.

“The information contained in this study will help us take the next steps toward our goal of making biofuel available, cost-effective and practical for all airlines at Sea-Tac," said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton. “It wouldn’t have been possible to get to this point without the momentum provided by our partners, industry leaders and community innovators.”

The two biggest challenges facing broader adoption of sustainable aviation fuel at Sea-Tac are the higher cost compared with petroleum jet fuel, and the constraints imposed by state and federal regulations on use of airport funds.

The report, titled Innovative Funding for Sustainable Aviation Fuel at U.S. Airports: Explored at Seattle-Tacoma International, reveals the financial tools available to U.S. airports, and outlines legal constraints and financial impacts of each tool. The report found that no single tool could generate enough funding to cover the higher cost of biofuel, and recommended combining a number of funding tools.

“Until we reach fossil-price parity, we need co-funding mechanism to close the price gap between conventional jet fuel and sustainable aviation biofuels. Sea-Tac demonstrates that airports can play a key role in helping find the right partners to cover the premium and accelerate the transition to secure a sustainable future for the aviation industry,” said Theye Veen, Chief Financial Officer of SkyNRG.

“We congratulate Sea-Tac on its leadership in showing that airport authorities are critical to the success of the aviation biofuel industry,” said Adam Klauber, Director of CWR’s Sustainable Aviation program. “We’ve proven that there are viable funding mechanisms for the widespread uptake of sustainable aviation fuel at Sea-Tac, and we hope that the study provides tools and ideas for other ambitious airports to consider in their sustainability initiatives.”

AltAir Fuels, based in California, is the only facility in the world regularly producing aviation biofuels. The Port, as an economic development engine, is seeking ways to help grow the market. This initiative is one solution in the Port’s quest to find sustainable solutions that improve the health of our environment and community. Other Port successes include emissions reduction achieved by providing pre-heated and cooled air to aircraft parked at gates, use of electric ground support equipment, and conversion to green vehicles.

Port of Seattle welcomes announcement of new service to Manchester on Thomas Cook Airline
The Port of Seattle also welcomes the announcement that Thomas Cook Airline, part of the Thomas Cook Group will begin new seasonal service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Manchester beginning May 27, 2018. The twice-weekly (Thursday and Sunday) nonstop flight will be on an Airbus A330 airplane. Manchester is one of the UK’s most-visited cities, behind London and Edinburgh.

“As home to the MLS champion soccer team the Sounders, we are proud to now have a direct link to the legendary UK football city and we all know this is a major score for our travelers,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “Manchester is more than just sport and this new flight will bring economic benefit to the Pacific Northwest and is another link to a rich area for both tourists and business fliers alike.”

“With our new connection to Manchester and the Condor year-round service from Seattle, it’s never been easier and more affordable for Americans to explore Europe. With seventeen gateways in the U.S., four of which just launched this summer, we’re making excellent progress with our strategy to grow our long-haul network,” said Christoph Debus, chief airlines officer, Thomas Cook Group.

The Thomas Cook Airline Manchester service adds to sister airline Condor’s service expansion from Sea-Tac, which extended existing Frankfurt service to year-round flights along with a seasonal Munich flight. Sea-Tac has become Condor’s largest U.S. gateway along with Las Vegas. Earlier this year, Condor became a mileage partner with Alaska Airlines, allowing passengers to earn and redeem with Alaska’s Mileage Plan.

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