Emirates becomes the world’s first airline to conduct an A380 demo flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Emirates has achieved a groundbreaking milestone as the world’s first airline to conduct a demonstration flight of the A380 using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Commanded by Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet, the flight departed from Dubai International Airport (DXB), featuring one engine powered entirely by SAF.

This demonstration effectively showcases SAF’s potential as a direct substitute, aligning with the technical and chemical specifications of traditional jet fuel while offering a more sustainable alternative. SAF has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 85% over its life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel.

Demonstration flights like this one play a crucial role in paving the way for standardization, qualification, and broader adoption of 100% SAF flying. Governments are increasingly adopting strategies to support SAF production and scale-up.

The A380 demonstration flight underscores SAF’s performance and compatibility, positioning it as a safe and reliable fuel source. This contributes to ongoing industry research evaluating the positive effects of 100% SAF on aircraft performance.

As of now, SAF is capped at a 50% blend limit in engines for commercial flights. The 100% drop-in SAF used in this flight closely mimics conventional jet fuel characteristics and marks the first time such SAF has been employed in an A380. The expectation is full compatibility across the aircraft’s existing systems.

The flight carried four tonnes of SAF, a combination of HEFA-SPK from Neste and HDO-SAK from Virent. ENOC facilitated the production of neat SAF, blending it with Sustainable Aviation Kerosene (SAK) at its facility in Dubai International Airport.

The demonstration included the use of 100% SAF in one Engine Alliance GP7200 engine, while the other three engines utilized conventional jet fuel. The PW980 auxiliary power unit (APU) from Pratt & Whitney Canada also ran on 100% SAF.

Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, emphasized the significance of this achievement, stating, “This is another proud moment for Emirates and our partners as we put words into action with the research into and the trialling of higher concentrations of SAF to eventually lead to industry adoption of 100% SAF flying.”

Julie Kitcher, Airbus Executive Vice President Communications and Corporate Affairs, highlighted the symbolic nature of this achievement, emphasizing the effectiveness of SAF in addressing CO2 emissions and the industry’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Airbus aims to make all its aircraft 100% SAF-capable by 2030.

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