Helsinki Citycopter becomes first helicopter operators to use SAF


Helsinki Citycopter in Finland has become the first helicopter company in Northern Europe to use Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

The move is  part of an independent transition toward carbon neutrality by Helsinki Citycopter co-founders Joonas Nurmi and captain Ari Kallinen.

The first phase of the transition will replace 10% of Citycopter’s annual refuelling with an approximate mixture of 38% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and 62% fossil aviation fuel. Citycopter is based at Helsinki Vantaa Airport.

The Neste-produced SAF they are using is made from a mix of renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. Neste SAF has been available at Helsinki Vantaa Airport since April 2021.

Citycopter’s current Airbus fleet includes ACH130’s, H125 and H120 helicopters. Every Airbus helicopter is certified to fly with a 50% blend of SAF and fossil aviation fuel, allowing operators to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions without compromising on flight performance, comparative to that of traditional kerosene.

Although SAF is currently more expensive and harder to source than kerosene, the demand for biofuel is expected to grow as its supply chain becomes more efficient.

Nurmi and Kallinen at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, whose new Airbus fleet will rely on a mixture of biofuel and traditional aviation fuel (Image: Airbus)The ACH130 flies with a noise signature 6dB below International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) limits and has a maximum endurance of four hours.

“The ACH130 is not only efficient, safe and stable, but in terms of the distance and number of passengers, it consumes less fuel than an average-sized motorboat,” said Nurmi. “We are a young company, established in 2020, and our commitment to sustainability for future generations is part of our DNA.”

“Our new helicopters provide a memorable travel experience for business and private customers alike. Independent of airports, helicopters also supplement blind spots in the Finnish aviation network, as flights to certain regions have been reduced and several airports have been closed down,” said Kallinen.

Chosen as the start-up company of 2022 by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, Helsinki Citycopter is the first, and only, helicopter company to have been awarded the Sustainable Travel Finland label.

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