August 10, 2023 [Press-Telegram]- The Long Beach Airport received –and used — its first delivery of unleaded aviation fuel this week, making it the fourth airport in the region with environmentally sustainable fuel for purchase.
Santa Monica, Van Nuys and Oxnard airports are the only other airports in the region currently offering Swift UL94 unleaded aviation fuel, which is cleared for use in 70% of small planes.
The fuel came from Signature Flight Support, which operates out of Aeroplex Aviation, a property management company that has space at the Long Beach Airport.
“This is an important environmental issue,” Mayor Rex Richardson said in a statement, “and I am proud to see the leadership demonstrated by Signature Flight Support and Aeroplex Aviation in securing a source of unleaded fuel for our general aviation community.”
Long Beach Airport ranks No. 2 in the country for lead pollution out of more than 20,000 airports, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, with planes there emitting nearly 1,600 pounds of lead each year.
Using Swift UL94 unleaded aviation fuel will align the airport with a national initiative called Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emission, spearheaded by the Federal Aviation Administration and the EPA. The goal is to eliminate leaded aviation fuel by the end of 2030.
The Long Beach City Council last year unanimously directed staffers to work with airport officials and other stakeholders on a plan to reduce lead pollution from planes, citing particular concern for kids who live or go to school near the runways.
Councilmembers also voted to waive the airport’s fuel delivery fee per gallon for any unleaded aviation fuel delivered to LGB. At a council meeting last month, the Long Beach Airport provided the city with an update on the status of efforts to transition to unleaded fuel.
“I’m excited to see our airport work proactively with our fuel suppliers and our general aviation users to begin a safe and smooth shift to unleaded fuel,” Councilmember Megan Kerr said in a statement, “which will benefit our Long Beach community.”
Signature Flight Support – one of the world’s preeminent global aviation companies – will now be able to offer unleaded fuel to any aircraft owner or operator at LGB.
Approximately 65-70% of the piston-powered aircraft based at LGB are compatible with the current commercially available Swift UL94, but sales are expected to increase in advance of the 2030 deadline, according to the Long Beach Airport Association.
“Our efforts to bring unleaded gas to Long Beach is part of our Signature Renew commitment to reduce aviation emissions,” Niall Mulcahy, area director for Signature said in a statement. “Signature offers SAF, a carbon-reducing jet fuel, at every one of our California airports and we’re thrilled to integrate more environmentally friendly fuel products for all types of aircraft.”
The company, along with Pacific Air Flight School and Richardson, marked the first gallons of unleaded gas pumped into a general aviation aircraft at the Long Beach Airport.
The LBAA will coordinate educational sessions for Long Beach pilots in hopes of encouraging more aircraft owners and operators to adopt the new fuel and to educate the users and stakeholders on the national evolution to unleaded aviation gasoline.
“The aviation industry is unanimously committed to converting completely to an unleaded aviation fuel for piston aircraft and is now working to implement legislative and regulatory actions that will permit a rational transition to occur, and sooner than 2030,” said Curt Castagna, president of the Long Beach Airport Tenant’s Association. “With Signature Flight Support’s investment, this demonstrates another public-private-sector commitment in real environmental sustainability.”
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