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Emirates operates demonstration flight with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Emirates has announced that it has successfully completed a demonstration flight with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Boeing B777-300ER powered by SAF

One of Emirates’ Boeing B777-300ERs was used to conduct a demonstration flight. One of the aircraft’s engines was powered with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel. The flight took off from Dubai International Airport and flew over the Dubai coastline for more than one hour before returning to the Emirate.

The flight was commanded by Captain Fali Vajifdar and Captain Khalid Nasser Akram. The flight deck crew were accompanied by Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, and Captain Hassan Hammadi, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates Flight Operations.

The Boeing B777-300ER used for the demonstration flight

This flight is a milestone moment for Emirates and a positive step for our industry as we work collectively to address one of our biggest challenges – reducing our carbon footprint. It has been a long journey to finally see this demonstration 100% SAF flight take off. Emirates is the first passenger airline in the world to operate a Boeing 777 powering a GE engine with 100% SAF. Such initiatives are critical contributors to industry knowledge on SAF, and provide data to demonstrate the use of higher blends of SAF for future regulatory approvals. We hope that landmark demonstrations flights like this one, will help open the door to scale up the SAF supply chain and make it more available and accessible across geographies, and most importantly, affordable for broader industry adoption in the future.

said Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates.

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An important milestone

The demonstration flight powered by SAF holds particular significance as the United Arab Emirates has declared 2023 as the “Year of Sustainability”. The year will “showcase the UAE’s commitment to seek innovative solutions to challenges such as energy, climate change and other issues related to sustainability”.

The Dubai-based airline says that this flight supports collective industry efforts to enable a future of 100% SAF flying and help advance the UAE’s sustainability objectives.

With this demonstration flight, Emirates has become the first airline in the Middle East and North Africa to be powered by 100% SAF, which supports broader efforts to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions as the industry looks to scale up its use of SAF. The flights will also help to refine the playbook for future SAF demonstrations, and support future certification where 100% drop-in SAF fuel is approved for aircraft. Currently, SAF is approved for use in all aircraft, but only in blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel.

Emirates worked alongside partners GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell, Neste and Virent to procure and develop a blend of SAF that closely replicates the properties of conventional jet fuel. At each blend ratio, a host of chemical and physical fuel property measurements were carried out. After multiple lab tests and rigorous trials, they arrived at a blending ratio that mirrored the qualities of jet fuel. Eighteen tonnes of SAF were blended, comprised of HEFA-SPK provided by Neste (hydro processed esters and fatty acids and synthetic paraffinic kerosene) and HDO-SAK from Virent (hydro deoxygenated synthetic aromatic kerosene). The 100% SAF supplied one GE90 engine, with conventional jet fuel supplying the other engine.

Refuelling the aircraft with SAF

GE Aerospace congratulates Emirates on this major achievement. SAF is critical to helping the aviation industry reach its goal to be net zero by 2050 and collaborations like this to test 100% SAF globally will help bring us closer to this target. All GE Aerospace engines can operate on approved SAF blends today and we are helping support the approval and adoption of 100% SAF.

said Aziz Koleilat, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing – Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Turkey, GE Aerospace.

Boeing congratulates Emirates on its successful flight tests using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). SAF will play a critical role in the aviation industry’s commitment to be net zero by 2050, requiring strong industry collaboration. We were proud to partner with Emirates on these tests and look forward to further working with our partners to enable the widespread use of SAF across the globe.

said Omar Arekat, Vice President, Commercial Sales and Marketing – Middle East, The Boeing Company.

Emirates says that the test flight further demonstrates the compatibility of the specially blended SAF as a safe and reliable fuel source. The promising outcome of this initiative also adds to the body of industry data and research around SAF blends in higher proportions, paving the way for standardization and future approval of 100% drop-in SAF as a replacement for jet fuel, well above the current 50% blend limit.

Meanwhile, Emirates recently announced that it is ramping up services to Sydney and Melbourne while also resuming service to Christchurch.

Featured image by Emirates

Both the other images by Emirates

What do you think of Emirates successfully conducting a demonstration flight with one engine powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel? Let me know in the comments section below.

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