Signature, Neste and NetJets partner to accelerate the adoption of SAF


Cognizant of the important and active role that private aviation plays in environmental responsibility, Signature Flight Support announced the introduction of Signature Renew, a company-wide global sustainability initiative to innovate and invigorate the journey toward net-zero carbon emissions.

Central to the program is accelerating the use of SAF for private aircraft, with Signature initially establishing permanent supplies of low emission fuel at two key gateways — San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in the United States and London-Luton Airport (LTN) in the United Kingdom. 

Neste, a leading producer of renewable products and the world’s third most sustainable company according to Corporate Knights’ 2020 ranking, has agreed in principle to supply Signature Renew with Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Encompassing an expected five million gallons, the volume of SAF that Signature has committed to purchase from Neste is the largest agreement by a Fixed Base Operator to date. Furthermore, NetJets, a worldwide leader in private aviation, has announced its role as a launch customer for Signature Renew supplied SAF in San Francisco. 

The creation of the Signature Renew program aligns with the needs of many aircraft operators that are accountable to their parent organization’s corporate sustainability goals. SAF gallons purchased via Signature SFO will take advantage of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) tax incentive program, while at London-Luton operators can reduce carbon offsetting needs for the EU ETS. 

Prior to use, the SAF is blended with fossil jet fuel and is then verified to meet ASTM jet fuel specification. In its neat form and over the lifecycle, SAF can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional jet fuel. Once blended at a 35% ratio, Signature anticipates more than a 25% reduction in direct net lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft using the SFO and LTN SAF blends. 

“Signature is undertaking a momentous step that enables the wide-scale adoption of SAF,” explained Tony Lefebvre, chief operating officer for Signature. “Prior to establishing a permanent supply of SAF, FBOs have only been able to provide a few thousand gallons at one time — typically by request of an individual aircraft operator or for a one-off event. Signature is committing to having SAF available for uplift in San Francisco in the next few weeks, culminating in the world’s first 100% sustainably supplied FBO Q1 2021.”

Neste has been at the vanguard of sustainable aviation fuel production for nearly a decade, and the company will have the capacity to produce some 1.5 million tonnes (515 million gallons) of SAF annually by 2023. Neste’s SAF is made from sustainably sourced, renewable waste and residue materials — such as used cooking oil for example. It is a drop in fuel that offers an immediate way to reduce the direct greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft, requiring no new investments, modifications, or changes to procedures. 

Additionally, NetJets is the launch customer of sustainable fuel supplied by the Signature Renew program at SFO with a commitment to purchase up to 3m gallons of SAF, representing a large portion of Signature’s total volume at the airport. The non-exclusive agreement will support the continued expansion and availability of SAF throughout the business and general aviation industry. All of NetJets aircraft visiting the San Francisco Int’l Airport will be supplied with Neste-produced low-carbon fuel, uplifted by Signature. 

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Paige is an experienced journalist and editor who started her career covering the building and architecture sector. After several years writing and editing online and print articles for leading journals in this sector, she is bringing her thorough approach to technical content to covering aerospace engineering. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and is always planning her next trip

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