Emirates is The World’s First Airline to Fly an A380 Demonstration Flight Using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Emirates has set a new benchmark in aviation sustainability by becoming the world’s first airline to operate an Airbus A380 demonstration flight entirely on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). This flight took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB), signifying a major step towards environmentally responsible aviation. The flight, powered by one of four engines running solely on SAF, underscores the potential of SAF as a sustainable and technically feasible alternative to traditional jet fuel.

A380 Demonstration Flight Using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Photo via Emirates

This groundbreaking event is more than a demonstration of technological capability; it’s a testament to Emirates’ commitment to pioneering sustainable practices in aviation. The use of SAF, capable of reducing carbon emissions by up to 85% over its life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel, aligns with broader strategies to support SAF production and scale-up, crucial for future standardization and adoption in the industry.

Collaborative Efforts in SAF Development

The success of Emirates’ A380 demonstration flight with 100% SAF is the result of collaborative efforts from industry leaders like Airbus, Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney, Neste, Virent, and ENOC. These partnerships have been instrumental in testing, technical assessments, and data analysis, crucial for Emirates’ achievement. The SAF used in the flight included renewable aromatics and closely mimicked the characteristics of conventional jet fuel, marking a significant advancement in SAF technology.

A380 Demonstration Flight Using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Photo via Emirates

This demonstration flight carried four tonnes of SAF, comprising HEFA-SPK provided by Neste and HDO-SAK from Virent, blended with Sustainable Aviation Kerosene (SAK) by ENOC. The unique blend was used in one Engine Alliance GP7200 engine, while the other three engines ran on conventional jet fuel, and the PW980 auxiliary power unit (APU) from Pratt & Whitney Canada also operated on 100% SAF.

Emirates’ Ongoing Commitment to Sustainability

Emirates COO, Adel Al Redha, highlighted this event as another proud moment for the airline, aligning with their ongoing research and trials of higher concentrations of SAF. This initiative is a significant step in validating the use of SAF in wide-body aircraft like the A380 and plays a crucial role in advancing the industry’s path to lower carbon emissions.

“Emirates is the first passenger airline in the world to operate an A380 with 100% drop-in 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 the research into and the trialling of higher concentrations of SAF to eventually lead to industry adoption of 100% SAF flying. 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 lower-emission jet fuel alternatives is there, and the work of producers and suppliers to commercialise SAF and make it available will be critical in the coming years to help Emirates and the wider industry advance our path to lower carbon emissions.”

Emirates COO, Adel Al Redha
A380 Demonstration Flight Using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Photo via Emirates

Julie Kitcher, Airbus Executive Vice President Communications and Corporate Affairs, emphasized the symbolic importance of seeing the world’s largest airliner, the A380, powered by an engine running on 100% SAF. This flight is a critical milestone in meeting the aviation sector’s net-zero emissions target by 2050 and needs industry-wide support. Airbus is committed to making all its aircraft 100% SAF-capable by 2030 and is actively working to expand the global SAF market.

At Airbus, we are working to make all our aircraft 100% SAF-capable by 2030. We’re also working with partners to grow the global SAF market in the coming years. Airbus’s purpose as a company is to pioneer sustainable aerospace for a safe and united world. Through our partnership with Emirates, we’re matching ambition with action.”

Julie Kitcher, Airbus Executive Vice President Communications and Corporate Affairs

Earlier this year, Emirates successfully completed the first 100% SAF-powered demonstration flight in the region on a GE90-powered Boeing 777-300ER. Emirates’ successful operation of an A380 with 100% SAF is a landmark achievement in the aviation industry’s journey towards sustainability. These demonstrations reflects the airline’s leadership in adopting innovative solutions and its commitment to a sustainable future. As the industry continues to explore and develop eco-friendly alternatives, Emirates’ initiative serves as a beacon of progress and innovation.

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