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Etihad Operates Flight Using SAF by ITOCHU and NESTE


The first Etihad Airways flight to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) supplied by ITOCHU Corporation and NESTE took off from Tokyo Narita airport today.


The pioneering flight, EY871 departed Tokyo Narita at 1500, was the result of a partnership in which ITOCHU provided Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, making Etihad the first international airline to procure SAF in Japan.


Today’s flight operated on a ~40% blend of SAF, representing the first delivery of some 50,000 gallons of SAF, to be used over a number of flights in coming weeks. It is the first time a non-Japanese airline has used SAF supplied in Japan.


The flight reduced CO2 by approximately 75.2 tCO2, based on the estimated fuel volume (20,000 USG) at a blend of 39.66% SAF. The flight also managed non-CO2 environmental impacts through optimised flight planning for contrail prevention, deploying SATAVIA technology for a forecast net climate impact reduction of 71 tCO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).


Aircraft condensation trails, or contrails, cause surface warming responsible for up to 60% of aviation’s overall climate footprint. Until recently, technical challenges made contrail prevention difficult or impossible, but UK-based SATAVIA’s atmospheric modelling now enables flight plan optimisation for contrail prevention in addition to post-flight climate impact analysis.


In December 2021, the Japanese government announced the goal of replacing 10% of aviation fuel consumption by Japanese airlines with SAF by 2030. To achieve this goal, ITOCHU established a SAF supply network at Japanese domestic airports across the country for Japanese domestic carriers, which is now being expanded to international carriers, starting with Etihad. 


ITOCHU has already established a domestic SAF supply chain at Haneda and Narita International Airports, spanning from SAF import and quality control to delivery to airports, as well as a refueling network for the aircrafts themselves.


ITOCHU plans to expand its SAF supply base to Central Japan International Airport and Kansai International Airport, allowing it to further increase supply of SAF to both Japanese and international airlines.

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