First flight without conventional kerosene

First A319neo flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel, 29 Oktober 2021/Photo: Airbus


The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus could have succeeded in taking an important step in the ecological competition with Boeing and Co: For the first time, Airbus is flying an aircraft entirely without conventional kerosene: with SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel).

As Airbus announced on 29 October, this is the first time that the company and French aviation company has operated an aircraft with regenerative fuel. An Airbus A319neo test aircraft took off in the Toulouse area using so-called SAF fuel. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is currently produced mainly from biomass such as unused vegetable and cooking oils. Such biofuels are supposed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. However, they are currently considerably more expensive than normal kerosene.

Airbus is working on the project with the technology group Safran, the aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, France’s aerospace research centre Onera and the French Ministry of Transport. Airbus expects results from flight and ground tests with complete biofuel next year.

Airlines have been experimenting with SAF biofuel for a long time, but mostly as a mixture. In May, Air France flew across the Atlantic with a mixture of classic kerosene and kerosene substitute made from old cooking oil. The Airbus A-350 aircraft was flying from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Montréal/Canada .

France has set itself the goal of increasing the SAF share of total aircraft fuel consumption to one per cent. By 2025, this share is to increase to two per cent, and by 2030 it is to be five per cent. A few years ago, the Australian airline Qantas had already started a similar pilot project. It flew a Boeing Dreamliner with kerosene substitute made from plant seeds.

In the past, environmental organisations had repeatedly criticised such flights as PR stunts because only a small part of the classic kerosene was replaced by alternative fuels. However, according to Airbus, it was the first time that 100 per cent SAF was used.

Sources: Airbus, dpa

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