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Lufthansa postponing biofuel flights because of certification delay

Flightglobal reports that Lufthansa will postpone its planned commercial biofuel flights by at least a month because the fuel will not be certified in time by regulators.

The German carrier had earlier announced a six-month trial of renewable jet fuel with an Airbus A321 on scheduled commercial flights on the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg route. (Earlier post.) Pending certification, one of the aircraft’s engines was to use a 50-50 mix of Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable jet biofuel and traditional kerosene. The other engine will use conventional jet fuel.

Certifying body ASTM International was expected to certify hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) fuel for use in commercial aviation in the first quarter of this year, but is now unlikely to provide the necessary authorisation until at least the middle of the second quarter. The delay follows the failure of an ASTM International subcommittee to give an anticipated green light in mid-December.

“ASTM is simply wrapping up the remaining technical details. It has simply taken longer than we would have expected,” says Richard Altman, executive director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). “The current target is to have full committee approval mid-second quarter and publish early third quarter, assuming current deliverables are received as promised.”

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