MIAMI – Clermont Ferrand Auvergne Airport (CFE) became the first French airport to offer Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The offer is a premiere and an exploit for a mid-sized regional airport.

Vinci Group, which operates CFE airport, the Mixed Syndicate Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport (SMACFA), and the Auvergne Rhône Alpes Region have announced that the airport has started supplying SAF to all airlines operating on the platform, thus showing its will to participate in de-carbonation efforts.

The first beneficiary is to be Michelin Air (ICAO code BIB), part of the tire maker Michelin Group, which is mainly engaged in the transportation of Michelin personnel from its headquarters in Clermont Ferrand to other facilities sites worldwide.

The SAF is produced by recycling used cooking oil. The resulting SAF will be distributed by AirBP, the aviation arm of British Petroleum, under a contract agreement with Vinci Airports.

AirBP SAF dispenser – Photo : Vinci Airports

Environmental Commitment

A press release from Vinci reporting the start of operations says, “This step, initially expressed by Michelin Air Services, demonstrates the willingness of VINCI Airports, SMACFA, and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region to promote low-carbon air mobility, with bio-fuels representing an effective short-term response to the challenges of aviation’s ecological transition.”

Bio-fuels are one of the key areas of VINCI Airports’ environmental commitment to decarbonize aviation, as demonstrated by its response in July 2020 to the call by the French government on the production of sustainable aeronautical fuels in France.

SAF represents one of the most feasible solutions for de-carbonizing aviation, as it can be implemented immediately while awaiting other technological breakthroughs, such as hydrogen aircraft.

Clermont Ferrand Auvergne Airport. Photo: Vinci Airports

Comments from Officials

On this subject, Nicolas Notebaert, Vinci Airports CEO, declared, “Sustainable biofuels represent a short-term solution to decarbonize aviation, and are an integral part of the ambitious environmental strategy we have been pursuing since 2015 to reduce our carbon footprint and bring our stakeholders on board.

Notebaertadded, “We are pleased with this breakthrough and remain mobilized to contribute, alongside industry players, to developing less carbon-intensive aviation that is compatible with travelers’ aspirations.”

The Auvergne Region President, Laurent Wauquiez, concurred by saying, “The preservation of the environment is a major issue and is undoubtedly the challenge of the 21st century. Regional actors are mobilized to develop the use of clean energies as with the European program Zero emission for vehicles or the development of hydrogen train.”

“Allowing aircraft to refuel on less polluting sustainable bio-fuel will allow Clermont-Ferrand-Auvergne airport to be at the forefront of innovation and a model of progress to help de-carbonize aviation,” added the president.

Featured image: Aéroport de Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne (Aulnat, prés de Clermont-Ferrand, France). Photo: Fabien1309 – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr,