Dubai: Emirates operates demonstration flight powered by sustainable aviation fuel

This is the first demonstration flight in Mena powered by 100% sustainable aviation fuel in one of two engines


Waheed Abbas

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Photos: Rahul Gajjar
Photos: Rahul Gajjar

Published: Mon 30 Jan 2023, 12:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 30 Jan 2023, 10:11 PM

Emirates airline on Monday successfully operated its first demonstration flight powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Commanded by Captain Fali Vajifdar and Captain Khalid Nasser Akram, the flight took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB) at around 11am and flew for more than an hour over Dubai’s coastline before landing again at the Dubai airport.

Dubai’s flagship carrier said one of the engines of the Boeing 777-300ER was 100 per cent powered by sustainable aviation fuel, becoming the first passenger airline in the world to operate a Boeing 777 powering a GE engine with 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel.

Emirates’ first flight powered by SAF blended with jet fuel was in 2017, operating from Chicago O’Hare airport on a Boeing 777. It received its first SAF-powered A380 delivery in 2020 and also uplifted 32 tonnes of SAF for its flights from Stockholm that same year.

The demonstration flight on Monday was operated in partnership with GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell, Neste and Virent. Senior officials of Emirates airline, its partners and media personnel attended the historical event.

“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... Such initiatives are critical contributors to industry knowledge on SAF, and provide data to demonstrate the use of higher blends of SAF for future regulatory approvals,” said Adel Al Redha, chief operating officer, 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 per cent SAF globally will help bring us closer to this target,” said Aziz Koleilat, vice president of global sales and marketing for the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Turkey at GE Aerospace.

“All GE Aerospace engines can operate on approved SAF blends today and we are helping support the approval and adoption of 100 per cent SAF,” he added.

Omar Arekat, vice-president, commercial sales and marketing, Middle East, The Boeing Company, said SAF will play a critical role in the aviation industry’s commitment to be net zero by 2050, requiring strong industry collaboration.

The launch of environment-friendly flight comes as the UAE marked 2023 as a “Year of Sustainability” and supports collective industry efforts to enable a future of 100 per cent SAF flying and help advance the UAE’s sustainability objectives.


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