As support for a domestic anti-flying campaign gathers pace across Sweden, a regional airport is partnering with Swedish-carrier BRA and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) to partially fuel all flights to Stockholm with biofuel in 2019.

Kalmar Öland Airport and its local government owner have agreed to split the additional cost for 80 tonnes of biofuel, supplied by Air BP, with SAS and BRA, to enable the airlines to meet a 5% biofuel target on all flights to Stockholm next year.

The airport said it had been “working actively for many years to create the conditions to secure funding for the additional cost of aviation biofuel, with a long-term goal of having fossil-free aviation from Kalmar.”

SAS and BRA will pay 50% of the additional cost of the biofuel, while the airport said it would secure financing to fund the remaining half.

“For us at BRA, access to biofuel is essential to successfully achieve fossil-free domestic air travel in the near future,” head of sustainability Anna Soltorp said. “We need large-scale, continuous production nearby in order to have access to sustainably produced biofuel for reasonable pricing.”

Kalmar aims to expand the initiative to other routes in the longer term, although flights to Stockholm make up 85% of its traffic.

The move follows an announcement last year from airport-operator Swedavia that it had purchased 450 tonnes of biofuel and started using it to fuel aircraft operating from Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Swedavia said at the time that the investment was to “promote the domestic production of biofuel and help achieve the ambition of making Swedish domestic air travel completely fossil-free by 2030.”

Swedish domestic carriers are under increasing pressure from the public to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. A campaign by two Swedish women to convince 100,000 people to pledge not to fly in 2019 has recently been making headlines in the Nordic country.

The campaign started within months of the introduction of a new aviation tax by the Swedish government aimed at reducing the sector’s carbon footprint. The levy, which came into effect April 1, applies to all commercial flights operated by aircraft with more than 10 seats. The tax ranges from SEK60 ($6.70) to SEK400 per passenger, depending on the duration of the flight.   

“We can see the impact of the tax on aviation and the anti-flying campaign,” Soltorp told ATW. “It is difficult to make a statement about the proportion of each component, but we think that the movement will grow and continue to affect the market.”

The Swedish tax has come under fire from IATA, which said last year it would “cost 7,500 jobs and negatively impact Sweden’s economic competitiveness,” while its impact on climate change would be “negligible.”

Kerry Reals, kerry@realsreporting.com