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Emirates operates first-ever A380 demonstration flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel

SAF could cut carbon emissions by up to 85% compared to regular jet fuel across its entire life cycle.

Emirates operates first-ever A380 demonstration flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel
[Source photo: Emirates]

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In a landmark achievement for the aviation industry, Emirates has become the world’s first airline to operate an A380 demonstration flight powered entirely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB) with one of the four engines humming on 100% SAF, marking a significant step towards a more sustainable aviation future. SAF is said to reduce carbon emissions by up to 85%, over the fuel’s life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel. 

The A380 demonstration flight highlighted the reliability and performance of SAF and how it aims to contribute to the growing repository of industry research evaluating the impact of 100% SAF on aircraft operations. Currently, the blend limit for SAF in commercial aviation engines is capped at 50%.

Julie Kitcher, Airbus Executive Vice President Communications and Corporate Affairs said, “These fuels are the most effective way to address CO2 emissions in the aviation industry today and that they are supported increasingly by the world’s leading airlines. SAF is vital to meeting the sector’s net-zero emissions target in 2050, but needs the backing of the whole industry.” 

Emirates’ SAF-powered flight coincides with the Third International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3). 

A team of collaborators from Airbus, Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney, Neste, Virent, and ENOC have worked on the flight’s testing, technical assessments and data analysis. 

Saif Humaid al Falasi, Group CEO of ENOC, emphasizes that the demonstration flight signifies a significant stride towards decarbonizing the UAE’s aviation sector. “We remain committed to supporting the UAE’s efforts in the aviation sector to ensure continued sustainable growth.”

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