Sustainable Aviation Fuel

The Cargo SAF Programme

The Cargo SAF Programme makes it possible for shippers and forwarders to power a share of their flights using SAF. Customers may choose their level of engagement and we make sure that the total amount of investment will be used entirely for the sourcing of SAF. When investing in SAF, our customers receive a third-party audited report justifying the purchased amount of SAF linked to the traffic volume, and indicating the achieved reduction in CO2 making air transport more sustainable. By participating in the Cargo SAF Programme, our customers will not only reduce the carbon footprint, but also demonstrate great leadership and responsibility towards a more sustainable future. After all, we can only successfully develop a market of SAF with the support of all industry stakeholders.  

“Our commitment to the reduction of CO2 emissions is one of the fundamentals of our cargo strategy. The launch of a SAF programme for airfreight is a considerate step of an ambitious sustainability roadmap the next years. I would like to invite all our customers for joining us in creating a more sustainable cargo future”
– Adriaan den Heijer, EVP of Air France-KLM Cargo & Managing Director of Martinair

For additional questions regarding our Cargo SAF Programme, please contact

SAF Video

10 Frequently Asked Questions

What is SAF?

SAF stands for “Sustainable Aviation Fuel” and is a cleaner substitute for conventional jet fuel. This alternative fuel represents a solution that has been developed to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

Why do we need SAF for aviation?

The aviation sector currently accounts for 2 to 3% of global CO2 emissions produced by human activity. SAF represents an alternative fuel for aviation and is currently the only viable drop-in alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering commercial aircraft.

Will SAF achieve carbon neutral flight?

The SAF purchased by Air France KLM Martinair Cargo reduces CO2 emissions by up to 85%, when compared to conventional jet fuel. The reduction occurs throughout the entire lifecycle of producing and using sustainable aviation fuel compared to that of fossil fuel.

How is SAF produced?

Six production pathways for SAF have been certified by the American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM) for use in commercial aviation. The most common production pathway is Hydrotreated Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) where feedstocks (e.g. vegetable oils, waste oils, used cooking oil or fats) are deoxygenated and then hydroprocessed to produce a pure hydrocarbon fuel blending component.

What makes SAF “sustainable”?

SAF must meet stringent sustainability criteria to qualify as “sustainable” aviation fuel: substantial reduction in CO2 emissions, materials whose use would not have a negative impact on biodiversity or be in competition with needed food production. The sustainability of the chain is ensured through certification by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus (ISCC+) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).

What does one litre of sustainable aviation fuel cost in comparison with fossil fuel?

SAF currently costs two to three times as much as fossil fuel.

Do you need new aircraft to operate flight with SAF?

SAF is a drop-in fuel, meaning that no changes are required in aircraft or engine fuel systems, distribution infrastructure or storage facility.

Is it safe to fly on SAF?

SAF almost has identical chemical and physical characteristics as conventional jet fuel. They are safely mixed to varying degrees but no more than 50% by volume (according to current standards) to meet the same quality and safety requirements.

Why do we still use fossil jet fuel instead of SAF?

SAF has a relatively short history – the world´s first commercial flight on SAF was operated by KLM in 2011, followed by Air France in the same year – and is not yet produced on a large scale. So far, there is only a couple of facilities in the world that produces SAF on a constant basis and SAF is still very expensive. This is why KLM, together with a few partners, is building a fully SAF-dedicated plant to produce its own SAF, scheduled to open in 2023 in the north of the Netherlands. In France, plans are in progress to build several production plants in the coming years.

What are the next steps for Air France KLM Martinair Cargo?

Our objective today is to raise awareness within our partners, customers and towards the general public as well, to increase the use of SAF through our daily operations. Several challenges must be addressed to successfully use SAF in our future operations, such as reducing production costs, ensuring the adequate supply of feedstocks, optimising processes in blending locations and airports, improving policy framework to support SAF and developing globally-recognised and harmonized standards.

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