Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Planes need kerosene (a fossil fuel) to fly. When we burn kerosene, it produces a gas known as carbon dioxide (CO₂). Too much CO₂ in the air traps extra heat around the earth, causing the earth’s temperature to rise. To reduce this global warming and avoid further climate change, we need to reduce our CO₂ emissions. One way to do that is by using a different fuel type: Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

What is SAF?

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is made from more sustainable resources. Like waste oils of organic origins (such as used cooking oil). This means the Sustainable Aviation Fuel we use:

  • Is a renewable feedstock
  • Can avoid at least 75% of the total lifecycle CO₂ emissions compared to fossil jet fuel
  • Reduces other harmful emissions like particulates and sulphur

What type of fuel does KLM use?

In 2011 we carried out the world’s first commercial flight partly powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel made from used cooking oil. KLM only buys SAF produced from raw materials that have as less negative impact on biodiversity and/or food production as possible. For example, we don’t use soy and palm oil as these sources can be responsible for high deforestation rates.

All our sustainable fuel meets the criteria issued by:

A bit of SAF for every flight from Amsterdam

We add 1% SAF to the fuel system at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for every flight departing from Amsterdam. This means we’ve doubled the 0.5% SAF we started with in 2022. Our goal? 10% SAF by 2030. Because of the increase, we’ve adjusted our ticket prices based on the distance of each flight. Although 1% SAF might seem very little, it is an important step in the right direction.

We will have to work with all parties around us and come up with rock-solid solutions and innovations to speed up the use and production of SAF.

In 2011, KLM carried out the world’s first commercial flight partly powered by fuel made from used cooking oil.

Why not use 100% SAF?

Unfortunately, Sustainable Aviation Fuel has yet to be available on a large scale. This means that SAF is at least 3 to 4 times more expensive. Today, just a very small part of the millions of tons of kerosene used by commercial airlines is SAF. To significantly impact aviation’s overall carbon emissions, the contribution of our passengers helps.

Your eco-footprint

When you book a flight at KLM, we offer the option to buy extra SAF. The price for your contribution is calculated based on several factors that influence the amount of CO₂ emissions of your flight, like the type of aircraft, distance, and historical load factor.

With your contribution to SAF, you help to reduce air travel dependency on regular fossil fuels. We purchase 1% SAF for all flights departing from Amsterdam. It’s a start, but with your help, we can do more.

SAF prices per destination

About calculating your carbon emissions

Every year the French branch of accountancy organisation KPMG audits KLM to verify whether KLM’s calculation methods comply with the methods described below and are in line with principles as defined by international guidelines. The audit scope is available in the KPMG audit report.

Our latest methods and audit report:

Check the expected amount of CO₂ emissions for your flight in My Trip or when you book a flight.

Add SAF to your booking

You can add Sustainable Aviation Fuel while making your booking. Log in to My Trip if you already have a booking and want to add SAF.

Does your booking contain more than 1 passenger? Please note that adding SAF via My Trip is no longer possible if you’ve already added it for 1 of the passengers while booking.

What do we do with your contribution to SAF?

With your contribution, we buy extra SAF that we add to the fuel system at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (or 1 of the other airports where we add SAF). Your flight will not directly include your extra SAF contribution because it is logistically inefficient and complicated to arrange.

Because we add SAF to the airport fuel system, also other flights depart with more SAF on board and therefore have lower emissions. But they can't claim CO₂ reduction because they didn't pay for it. KLM is audited annually to ensure that the claimed CO₂ reduction corresponds to the SAF certificates we have received.

Your extra SAF contribution is 100% used to buy more SAF. KLM does not make a profit on this.

Want to do more?

Though air travel is not sustainable yet, there are things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Small things, like travelling light or bringing your water bottle or earbuds. Or more significant things, like buying Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). We also offer our passengers the option to help compensate for part of the estimated CO₂ emissions of their flight by contributing to our selected reforestation projects.

More about reforestation

Frequently asked questions