The supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is a challenge for the industry, and if Emirates airline can source half of its fuel through SAF by 2030, that would be a great achievement, said a senior official on Monday.
While speaking at the first demonstration flight powered by SAF on Monday, Adel Ahmad Al Redha, chief operating officer, Emirates airline, said SAF fuel “is a challenge that we face as an industry today."
He said: “Our aim (is that) if [this] fuel can be made available at 50 per cent of our use by 2030, that will be a great achievement.”
He suggested that sustainable fuel manufacturers and new companies will have to commit and deliver SAF, including to the UAE’s neighbouring countries and others.
“SAF is a worldwide commitment and no company can depend on one producer because the research and development cost is quite high at the beginning.”
The long-haul carrier successfully flew a Boeing 777 on a test flight Monday with one GE Aviation engine entirely powered by sustainable aviation fuel as part of its commitment to lowering its carbon footprint.
Flight No. EK2646 took off from the Dubai International airport and flew for just under an hour over the coastline before circling back to land.
Al Redha revealed that the environment-friendly fuel for the demonstration flight was imported from the US and Finland.
“This EK2646 flight will give us the ability to compare both the engine’s performance using traditional and SAF fuel. Once we are satisfied with the result of the flight, we will perform a 100 per cent SAF flight in a year. We will encourage more companies to produce sustainable fuel. Emirates will continue to take this type of initiative as this will benefit the industry,” he said.
Al Redha added that after the successful demonstration of the flight, Emirates airline’s next step will be to get approval from regulatory authorities about the outcome and use of SAF in the normal plane.
“Our aim was the technical aspect of the demonstration flight and we’re not bothered about the cost of the flight. We wanted to make ensure that SAF is doing [the] job that we expect it to do, and then will discuss with producers how to make such fuel available in Dubai at higher quantities and what would be [the] delivery cost,” he added.
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