Emirates becomes the first airline in the world to operate the A380 demonstration flight with 100% SAF


  • Direct SAF is used for the first time on an A380 with full compatibility with the aircraft’s existing system.
  • The cross-industry collaboration brings expertise from Airbus, Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney, ENOC, Neste and Virent.
  • The Landmark flight was 100% SAF powered on one of four engines to test performance.

Emirates has become the first airline in the world to operate an A380 demonstration flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Today’s flight, proudly commanded by Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet, took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB) with one of four 100% SAF powered engines, helping to demonstrate its potential as a direct replacement that It matches the technical characteristics and chemical requirements, while being a more sustainable alternative. SAF can reduce carbon emissions by up to 85%* over the fuel life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel.

Demonstration flights like the one carried out today pave the way for the future standardization, qualification and adoption of 100% SAF flights, as governments adopt broader strategies to support the production and scale-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% SAF on performance of the aircraft. Currently, the SAF has a 50% mixture limit on engines for commercial flights.

He Emirates A380 The demonstration flight comes as the aviation industry, international organizations, regulatory bodies and senior 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 testing, technical evaluations and data analysis for today’s flight.

The 100% drop SAF The fuel used in today’s flight includes renewable aromatics and closely mimics the characteristics of conventional jet fuel. This is the first time direct SAF has been used on an A380 aircraft, with the expectation of full compatibility with the aircraft’s existing systems. The flight was carrying four tonnes of SAF, composed of HEFA-SPK provided by Neste (Hydroprocessed Esters and Synthetic Paraffinic Fatty Acid Kerosene) and HDO-SAK. by Virent (hydrodeoxygenated synthetic aromatic kerosene). ENOC helped secure clean SAF composed of HEFA-SPK and blended it with sustainable aviation kerosene (SAK) at its facility at Dubai International Airport prior to the demonstration, and also carried out onboard services.

100% SAF was used in one Engine Alliance GP7200 engine, while conventional jet fuel was used in the other three engines. The PW980 auxiliary power unit (APU) Pratt & Whitney Canada It also ran at 100% SAF.

Robust testing of an A380 Engine Alliance GP7200 engine using 100% SAF was carried out last week, with the aim of validating the engine’s ability to operate on specially blended 100% SAF without affecting its performance or requiring modifications. Ground engine testing was carried out at the state-of-the-art Emirates Engineering Center in Dubai.

Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates Airline saying:

“Emirates is the first passenger airline in the world to operate an A380 with 100% Direct SAF powering one of four Engine Alliance GP7200 engines. This is another proud moment for Emirates and our partners as we put words into action with research and testing of higher concentrations of SAF to eventually lead to industry adoption of 100% SAF flights. This marks another significant step in validating the use of SAF in one of the engines of the A380, a wide-body aircraft with four engines. The growing global demand for low-emission jet fuel alternatives is there, and the work of producers and suppliers to commercialize SAF and make it available will be critical in the coming years to help Emirates and the wider industry advance our path to reducing carbon emissions. “

julie Kitcher, executive vice president of communications and corporate affairs at Airbus commented:

“Seeing Emirates fly an A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, powered by an engine that runs on 100% sustainable aviation fuels, is a symbolic moment. These fuels are the most effective way to address CO2 emissions in the aviation industry today and are increasingly supported by the world’s leading airlines. SAF is vital to meeting the sector’s target of net zero emissions by 2050, but needs industry-wide support. At Airbus, we are working to make all our aircraft 100% SAF compatible by 2030. We are also working with partners to grow the global SAF market in the coming years. Airbus’ purpose as a company is to pioneer the sustainable aerospace sector for a safe and united world. “Through our partnership with Emirates, we combine ambition with action.”

“Engine Alliance and Emirates have a strong relationship dating back 15 years, since the entry into service of the A380. “We are proud to power Emirates’ latest SAF demonstration flight and share a commitment to more sustainable aviation for the future.”

saying Amy Johnston, president of Engine Alliance, a 50:50 joint venture between GE Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney.

“Innovation and collaboration are the keys to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as demonstrated by this 100% SAF demonstration flight. “GE Aerospace congratulates Emirates on this significant achievement and we are proud to drive the industry’s efforts towards a more sustainable future.”

saying Aziz Koleilat, vice president of global sales and marketing for the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Turkey at GE Aerospace.

“All GE Aerospace and Engine Alliance engines can operate with approved SAF blends today, and through extensive research and testing, GE Aerospace is helping to lead the approval and adoption of 100% SAF in the aviation industry.”

“Increasing the use of SAF is critical to achieving the goal of net-zero carbon emissions for aviation, and we are dedicated to ensuring that all Pratt & Whitney engines and APUs are compatible with current and future SAF specifications, up to 100%. %”.

saying Graham Webb, director of sustainability at Pratt & Whitney.

“This in-flight demonstration on an Emirates A380 continues to build momentum towards setting future standards for 100% SAF, which will help maximize the potential lifecycle emissions reductions of all commercial aircraft flying in the coming decades. “.

“Sustainable aviation fuel plays a crucial role in reducing emissions from air travel, but to fully realize its decarbonisation potential we need to enable the use of 100% SAF. Test flights like this Emirates A380 flight using Neste’s SAF are an important step towards 100%”

saying Jonathan Wood, vice president of business management and business development for Neste’s renewable aviation business.

“Virent congratulates Emirates Airline for another successful demonstration flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel with Virent’s cleaner burning BioForm® SAK,”

saying Dave Kettner, President and General Counsel of Virent.

“With Virent’s plant-based fuel technology, this test flight demonstrated that 100% renewable fuel can meet current specifications and perform perfectly in today’s commercial airline engines. It is essential that a consortium of companies, like this group, come together to bring sustainable aviation fuel into more widespread use. “Virent will continue to collaborate with companies focused on the future and, through this collaboration, we will be able to continue reducing emissions and driving a more fuel-efficient airline industry.”

His Excellency Saif Humaid al Falasi, CEO of ENOC Groupsaying:

“At ENOC, we recognize the importance of working collaboratively with strategic partners and industry experts to achieve a more sustainable future for all. We are pleased to have helped power Emirates’ first 100% sustainable aviation fuel demonstration flight on an Airbus A380, bringing us one step closer to decarbonising the UAE’s aviation sector and transforming it into a regional hub for low carbon aviation fuels. “We remain committed to supporting the UAE’s efforts in the aviation sector to ensure continued sustainable growth.”

At the beginning of 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 The SAF operated flights 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 more than 3 million gallons of blended SAF in 2024 and 2025 for flights departing from Amsterdam Schiphol and Singapore Changi airports.

Emirates SAF is currently being upgraded in Norway and France and the airline continues to look for opportunities to use SAF at various airports as supply becomes available.

Emirates participates in a variety of UAE government and industry working groups, along with ongoing engagements with stakeholders to help scale SAF production and supply. Last year, together with the UAE GCAA, the airline contributed to the development of the UAE PtL fuels roadmap, driven by the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and the World Economic Forum, and has been an active participant. in the United Arab Emirates National Roadmap for Sustainable Aviation Fuel launched in January 2023 by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and GCAA.

News source: Emirates


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