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Mönchengladbach puts SAF on continuous supply
Mönchengladbach is the first airport in Germany to offer a continuous supply of SAF. Business aircraft will be refuelled there by Rheinland Air Service.
Oliver Krischer, minister for the environment and transport for North Rhine-Westphalia, refuels a HondaJet with SAF. (photo: V K Thomalla)

Monchengladbach airport in Germany is doing pioneering work in reducing CO2 emissions from aviation. From now on, aircraft can refuel with sustainably produced SAF. Monchengladbach is the first airport in Germany where SAF is continuously available and, with almost 50,000 aircraft movements annually, it is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the country.

The SAF is provided by the multi-energy company TotalEnergies, produced from waste and residual materials from the circular economy (eg animal fats, used cooking oils). It is mixed with conventional aviation fuel, whereby the SAF content then amounts to 35 per cent and can therefore be used directly in all aircraft engines without any further special approvals.

Oliver Krischer, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia, initiated the first refuelling of an aircraft with SAF at the airport by pressing a button on the apron refuelling system. He says: “Air traffic must also become climate-neutral. That is why we are supporting measures and projects that make flying without fossil fuels possible. Electric drives play just as much a role in this as the use of SAF. It is pioneering that Monchengladbach airport has now created the possibility of refuelling aircraft with SAF. This is an important step towards making flying more climate-friendly.”

The aircraft will be refuelled by Rheinland Air Service (RAS), and CEO Johannes Graf von Schaesberg says: “As the European dealer of Honda and Daher aircraft for Germany and Austria, Rheinland Air Service is committed to carrying out all HondaJet ferry flights and demonstration flights through RAS with SAF. The same applies to Daher's TBM and Kodiak aircraft.”

Business travellers appreciate the central location of Monchengladbach airport, the weather-independent accessibility and the fast handling. Flight schools offer training from private pilot to commercial pilot licences, while regional aircraft and business jets from all over the world come for maintenance. Its aviation cluster continues to develop and is being strengthened by projects such as the development of new flight systems. It serves as a real-world laboratory for aviation to drive innovative approaches and steer the industry towards a sustainable future.

Managing director Andreas Ungar says: “We are very pleased to be able to offer SAF to our customers, with immediate effect, in cooperation with RAS and thus take an important first step. Aviation is facing the challenge of ensuring decarbonisation and thus the mobility transition in the air. In this context, we do not want to wait for the results of others, but want to actively and profitably shape the processes and thus create the conditions for new and sustainable value chains at the site. The permanent availability of SAF underlines the aspiration of the airport company and Rheinland Air Service to actively help shape more sustainable aviation and thus create the conditions for new regional aviation here as a 'first mover' within the German aviation industry.”

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