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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Emirates Achieves Milestone as First Airline to Conduct A380 Demonstration Flight Using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Dubai, UAE – In a pioneering move, Emirates has become the world’s first airline to conduct an A380 demonstration flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight, commanded by Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet, showcased the potential of SAF as a viable and sustainable alternative to traditional jet fuel.

Groundbreaking Flight Highlights SAF’s Potential

The demonstration flight, taking off from Dubai International Airport (DXB), featured one of the A380’s engines powered entirely by SAF. This achievement underscores SAF’s capability as a drop-in replacement that meets the technical and chemical requirements of jet fuel. SAF has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 85% over its life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel.

Paving the Way for Future Adoption: Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Demonstration flights like this one play a crucial role in paving the way for standardization, qualification, and widespread adoption of 100% SAF use. Governments worldwide are increasingly focusing on strategies to support the production and scaling up of SAF. Currently, SAF is capped at a 50% blend limit in engines for commercial flights.

Strategic Collaboration for Sustainable Aviation

The A380 demonstration flight coincides with the Third International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) in Dubai. Collaborators from Airbus, Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney, Neste, Virent, and ENOC have played a pivotal role in the testing, technical assessments, and data analysis for this groundbreaking flight.

Composition of 100% SAF: Sustainable Aviation Fuel

The SAF used in the demonstration flight included renewable aromatics, closely mimicking the characteristics of conventional jet fuel. This marked the first time that drop-in SAF was used on an A380 aircraft, with expectations of full compatibility across the existing systems of the aircraft. The flight carried four tonnes of SAF, a combination of HEFA-SPK from Neste and HDO-SAK from Virent.

Engine Alliance GP7200 Engine Testing

Before the A380 demonstration flight, robust engine testing for one Engine Alliance GP7200 engine was conducted using 100% SAF. This testing aimed to validate the engine’s capability to run on the specially blended SAF without affecting performance or requiring modifications. The ground engine testing occurred at the Emirates Engineering Centre in Dubai.

Industry Recognition and Commitment: Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Emirates, along with its collaborators, received recognition for this significant achievement. The airline continues to lead efforts towards reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. As part of its commitment, Emirates 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.

Looking Ahead: A Sustainable Future for Aviation: Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, emphasized the airline’s commitment to research and trial higher concentrations of SAF, ultimately aiming for industry adoption of 100% SAF flying. This latest achievement represents a crucial step in advancing towards lower carbon emissions in the aviation sector and supports global efforts for a sustainable future.

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