Emirates world’s first airline to operate A380 demonstration flight with 100% SAF

Saturday, Nov 25, 2023 16:11

Emirates has become the world’s first airline to operate an A380 demonstration flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel. — Photo courtesy of the company

Emirates on November 24 announced it has become the world’s first airline to operate an A380 demonstration flight using 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

The flight, proudly commanded by Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet, took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB) with one of four engines powered on 100 per cent SAF, helping demonstrate its potential as a drop-in replacement that matches jet fuel’s technical and chemical requirements, while being a more sustainable alternative.

SAF can reduce carbon emissions by up to 85 per cent over the fuel’s life cycle when compared to conventional jet fuel.

Demonstration flights pave the way for the future standardisation, qualification and adoption of 100 per cent SAF flying, as governments adopt broader strategies to support the production and scaling up of SAF. The A380 demonstration flight underlines the performance and compatibility of SAF, making it a safe and reliable fuel source, and contributes to the growing body of research carried out by the industry to evaluate the beneficial effects of 100 per cent SAF on aircraft performance. SAF is currently capped at a 50 per cent blend in engines for commercial flights.

The Emirates A380 demonstration flight comes as the aviation industry, international organisations, regulatory bodies and high-level officials driving policy-related decisions converge in Dubai for the Third International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3). Dedicated collaborators from Airbus, Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney, Neste, Virent and ENOC have been working on the testing, technical assessments and data analysis for today’s flight.

Last week, robust engine testing for one A380 Engine Alliance GP7200 engine using 100 per cent SAF was carried out, with the objective of validating the engine’s capability to run on the specially blended 100 per cent drop-in SAF without affecting its performance or requiring any modifications. Ground engine testing took place at the state-of-the-art Emirates Engineering Centre in Dubai.

Earlier this year, Emirates successfully completed the first 100% SAF-powered demonstration flight in the region on a GE90-powered Boeing 777-300ER.

Last month, the first Emirates flights operating with SAF provided by Shell Aviation took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB). Shell supplied 315,000 gallons of blended SAF for use at the airline’s hub in Dubai.

The airline recently expanded its partnership with Neste for the supply of over 3 million gallons of blended SAF in 2024 and 2025 for flights departing from Amsterdam Schiphol and Singapore Changi airports.

Emirates has safely restarted operations to more than 130 destinations across six continents and currently operates daily flights from Ha Noi and HCM City to Dubai. — VNS

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