Air Canada to Conduct First Flight with Sustainable Biofuel

Cooking Oil-Powered Flight Expected to Reduce Emissions 40 per cent or more

MONTREAL, June 18, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada will operate its first flight with biofuel today to highlight the airline's commitment to the environment. Flight AC991 from Toronto to Mexico City is expected to generate at least 40 per cent fewer emissions by using jet fuel derived from recycled cooking oil and through other fuel-saving measures, making it the most environmentally-friendly flight ever flown by Air Canada. The flight is supported by Airbus and is part of an environmental demonstration by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to coincide with the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

"Air Canada fully accepts its responsibility to reduce its footprint and our first flight using biofuel tangibly demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the environment. Since 1990 our airline has become 30 per cent more fuel efficient and we are determined to increase these gains through cutting-edge measures such as those being showcased with this Toronto-Mexico City flight, our greenest ever," said Duncan Dee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada. "The flight, supported by Airbus, will link with other biofuel flights from Canada to Rio de Janeiro arranged under the auspices of ICAO to underscore the aviation industry's commitment to the environment at the UN sustainability conference."

"Today's flight with Air Canada proves that the aviation industry is in a strong position to reduce emissions," said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. "To make this a day-to-day commercial reality, it requires now a political will to foster incentives to scale up the use of sustainable biofuels and to accelerate the modernization of the air-traffic-management system. We need a clear endorsement by governments and all aviation stakeholders to venture beyond today's limitations."

Today's AC991 will be a normal revenue flight operated with an Airbus A319 aircraft using a 50/50 mix of regular and biofuel derived from recycled cooking oil. This blend produced by SkyNRG has been recertified to normal jet fuel standards and can be safely used without modifying the aircraft's systems.

Flight AC991 is being operated as part of ICAO's Flightpath to a Sustainable Future. In addition to alternative fuel, Air Canada will also use other techniques and measures it has adopted to reduce the flight's environmental impact. These include:

Pre-flight maintenance preparation:

  • Fuselage wash and wax to improve aerodynamics
  • Interior clean and reconciliation of service items to reduce excess weight
  • Installation of lightweight aisle carpet
  • Engine compressor wash to increase efficiency
  • iPad Electronic Flight Bag in lieu of paper documents for pilots to save weight

Pre-flight operations:

  • Minimizing emissions from on-board Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) through use of ground power at gate and use of conditioned air
  • Streamlining push-back procedures to reduce fuel usage
  • Taxiing the aircraft to the runway with one engine
  • Minimizing taxi time to runway


  • Reduced thrust take-off
  • Air conditioning adjusted to save power


  • Immediate turn towards destination
  • Optimized climb to optimal cruise altitude


  • Optimized cruise speed and altitude
  • Most direct routing through Canadian, US, and Mexican airspace
  • Use of live weather updates accessed through iPad for re-routing due to weather


  • Constant descent using optimized descent rate along most direct routing


  • Direct taxi to gate with minimal delay
  • Taxiing the aircraft with one engine
  • Minimizing use of APU at gate through use of ground power.

Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline serving more than 175 destinations on five continents.  Canada's flag carrier is the 15th largest commercial airline in the world and in 2011 served more than 33 million customers.  Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 59 Canadian cities, 56 destinations in the United States and 63 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America.  Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,290 destinations in 189 countries. In 2011, Air Canada was ranked Best International Airline in North America in a worldwide survey of more than 18 million airline passengers conducted by independent research firm Skytrax. Air Canada customers can collect Aeroplan miles for future rewards through Canada's leading loyalty program, and Top Tier members enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer benefits including lounge and priority services.  For more information visit, follow @AirCanada on Twitter and join Air Canada on Facebook.

For further information:

Contacts :

Isabelle Arthur (Montréal) 514 422-5788
Peter Fitzpatrick (Toronto) 416 263-5576
Angela Mah (Vancouver) 604 270-5741

Internet :