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Emirates Operates World’s First A380 Demo Flight with 100% SAF


Emirates has become the world’s first airline to operate an A380 demonstration flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).


Today’s flight, commanded by Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet, took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB) with one of four engines powered on 100% SAF, helping demonstrate its potential as a drop-in replacement that matches jet fuel’s technical and chemical requirements, while being a more sustainable alternative.


SAF can reduce carbon emissions by up to 85% over the fuel’s life cycle when compared to conventional jet fuel. 


Demonstration flights like the one conducted today pave the way for future standardisation, qualification and adoption for 100% SAF flying, 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 aircraft performance. SAF is currently capped at a 50% blend limit in engines for commercial flights.


The Emirates A380 demonstration flight comes as the aviation industry, international organisations, regulatory bodies and high-level 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 the testing, technical assessments and data analysis for today’s flight. 


The 100% drop-in SAF used on today’s flight includes renewable aromatics and closely mimics the characteristics of conventional jet fuel. This is the first time that drop-in SAF has been used on an A380 aircraft, with the expectation of full compatibility across the aircraft’s existing systems. 


The flight carried four tonnes of SAF, comprised of HEFA-SPK provided by Neste (hydro processed esters and fatty acids synthetic paraffinic kerosene) and HDO-SAK from Virent (hydro deoxygenated synthetic aromatic kerosene). 


ENOC helped to secure the neat SAF comprised of HEFA-SPK, and blended it  with Sustainable Aviation Kerosene (SAK) at its facility in Dubai International Airport ahead of the demonstration, and also carried out into-plane services.


The 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) from Pratt & Whitney Canada also ran on 100% SAF.


Last week, robust engine testing for one A380 Engine Alliance GP7200 engine using 100% SAF was carried out, with the objective of validating the engine’s capability to run on the specially blended 100% drop-in SAF without affecting its performance or requiring any modifications.  Ground engine testing took place at the state-of-the-art Emirates Engineering Centre in Dubai.


Earlier 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 flights operating with SAF 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 over 3 million gallons of blended SAF in 2024 and 2025 for flights departing from Amsterdam Schiphol and Singapore Changi airports.


Emirates currently uplifts SAF in Norway and France and the airline continues to seek opportunities to use SAF at various airports as supply becomes available.

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Comments (25)

Guest
Sep 21, 2022

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Guest
Sep 30, 2022

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kasarokcaesar
Oct 24, 2022

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Nov 10, 2022

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Guest
Aug 07, 2023
Replying to

Where is here.

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Guest
Jan 27, 2023

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Guest
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