100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel Demonstration Flight
Emirates, the world’s largest airline, has operated its first demonstration flight powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight, which took off from Dubai International Airport, was commanded by Captain Fali Vajifdar and Captain Khalid Nasser Akram and flew for over an hour over the Dubai coastline.
The flight was the first in the Middle East and North Africa to be powered by 100% SAF and holds particular significance as the UAE declares 2023 the “Year of Sustainability”. The demonstration flight supports collective industry efforts to enable a future of 100% SAF flying and to help advance the UAE’s sustainability objectives.
SAF Development and Testing
Emirates worked alongside partners GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell, Neste, and Virent to develop a blend of SAF that closely replicates the properties of conventional jet fuel. The SAF blend was tested and refined through multiple lab tests and trials, resulting in a blending ratio that mirrored the qualities of jet fuel. The 18 tonnes of blended SAF comprised of HEFA-SPK provided by Neste and HDO-SAK from Virent. The 100% SAF powered one GE90 engine, with conventional jet fuel powering the other.
Paving the Way for 100% SAF Adoption
The successful demonstration flight adds to the body of industry data and research around SAF blends in higher proportions, paving the way for the standardization and future approval of 100% drop-in SAF as a replacement for jet fuel. Emirates is the first passenger airline in the world to operate a Boeing 777 powered by a GE engine with 100% SAF.
“This flight is a milestone moment for Emirates and a positive step for our industry as we work collectively to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Airline.
“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 bring us closer to this target,” said Aziz Koleilat, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing in the Middle East for GE Aerospace.
“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.
“This demonstration is a big first step in showing full APU functionality and capability when running on 100% SAF,” said Mosab Alkubaisy, Director of Airlines, Honeywell Aerospace Middle East.
“Test flights like this Emirates flight are an important step towards 100% SAF certification,” said Jonathan Wood, Vice President EMEA, Renewable Aviation at Neste. “Neste is committed to ensuring Dubai and the UAE continue to be a leader on sustainability and emission reductions in the aviation sector.”