Emirates has operated its first milestone demonstration flight on a Boeing 777-300ER, powering one of its engines with 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight took off from Dubai International Airport and flew for more than one hour over the Dubai coastline.
The demonstration flight aids collective industry efforts to enable a future of 100 per cent SAF flying and help advance the UAE’s sustainability objectives and its commitment to seek innovative solutions to challenges such as energy, climate change and other issues related to sustainability.
As the first in the Middle East and North Africa to be powered by 100 per cent SAF, the flight supports broader efforts to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions as the industry looks to scale up its use of SAF. The flights will also assist to refine the playbook for future SAF demonstrations, and support future certification where 100 per cent drop-in SAF fuel is approved for aircraft.
SAF is currently approved for use in all aircraft, but only in blends of up to 50 per cent with conventional jet fuel.
Adel Al Redha, chief operating officer, Emirates Airline said: “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 per cent SAF flight take off.
“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.”
Jonathan Wood, vice president EMEA, renewable aviation, Neste said: “Sustainable aviation fuel plays a crucial role in reducing the emissions of air travel but to fully leverage its decarbonisation potential, we need to enable 100 per cent SAF use. Test flights like this Emirates flight with Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel are an important step towards 100 per cent SAF certification.”
Emirates runs a comprehensive fuel efficiency programme that actively investigates and implements ways to reduce unnecessary fuel burn and emissions, wherever it is operationally feasible.
Some of the programme’s most significant initiatives include the operation of “flex tracks”, or flexible routings – partnering with air navigation service providers to create the most efficient flight plan for each flight. These efforts have been ongoing since 2003, and Emirates has been working with IATA to extend this routing system across the world as a standard operating procedure where possible.