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Emirates Makes Aviation History with World’s First A380 Demonstration Flight on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Emirates has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the world’s first airline to operate an Airbus A380 demonstration flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

The landmark flight, which took off from Dubai International Airport, showcased the feasibility and compatibility of SAF as a sustainable alternative to conventional jet fuel.

The demonstration flight, commanded by Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet, featured one of the A380’s four engines powered exclusively by SAF. This move underscores SAF’s potential as a drop-in replacement that meets the technical and chemical requirements of traditional jet fuel while significantly reducing carbon emissions by up to 85% over the fuel’s life cycle.

This achievement is a result of collaborative efforts across various industry players, including Airbus, Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney, ENOC, Neste, and Virent. 

The partnership aimed to test the performance and compatibility of 100% SAF across the A380’s existing systems, with the ultimate goal of standardizing, qualifying, and adopting SAF for widespread use in aviation.

The flight took place amidst the Third International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) in Dubai, where industry leaders and policymakers gathered to discuss the future of sustainable aviation.

The SAF used in the demonstration flight included renewable aromatics and closely mimicked the characteristics of conventional jet fuel. Notably, the 100% drop-in SAF was utilized in one of the Engine Alliance GP7200 engines, while the other three engines were powered by conventional jet fuel. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW980 auxiliary power unit (APU) also ran on 100% SAF.

Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, expressed pride in the achievement, stating, “This marks another significant step in validating the use of SAF in one of the engines of the A380.” 

He emphasized the global demand for lower-emission jet fuel alternatives and highlighted the importance of producers and suppliers working to commercialize SAF.

Airbus Executive Vice President Julie Kitcher applauded the milestone, calling it a symbolic moment in the journey towards achieving net-zero emissions in the aviation industry. Kitcher revealed Airbus’s commitment to making all its aircraft 100% SAF-capable by 2030.

The collaboration between Emirates and its partners received commendation from industry leaders, including Engine Alliance, GE Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Neste, Virent, and ENOC, highlighting the importance of innovation and collaboration in achieving sustainable aviation.

Emirates’ dedication to sustainable aviation practices was further underscored by its recent successful SAF-powered demonstration flight on a GE90-powered Boeing 777-300ER and its ongoing partnerships with Neste and Shell Aviation for the supply of blended SAF in various locations.

The airline continues to actively participate in industry working groups and engage with stakeholders to advance the production and supply of SAF, contributing to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions in aviation.

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