The European multinational aerospace corporation, Airbus, on March 25, performed the first A380 flight powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
This made it the third aircraft from the manufacturer to fly on 100% SAF over the course of 12 months. The first test was done on an Airbus A350 in March 2021 followed by an A319neo single-aisle aircraft in October 2021.
The three hour test was carried on the company’s test aircraft MSN1 which took off from Blagnac Airport, Toulouse, France. One of the four engines of the plane was swapped with the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine running on 100% SAF.
A second flight using the same aircraft was also conducted to test the use of SAF during take-off and landing on March 29, 2022 from Toulouse to Nice airport.
The 27 tonnes of unblended SAF, provided by TotalEnergies for the flight was made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), free of aromatics and sulphur, and primarily consisting of used cooking oil, as well as other waste fats.
The company believes that increasing the use of SAF remains a key pathway to achieving the industry’s ambition of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Additionally, Waypoint 2050 report noted that SAF could contribute between 53% and 71% of required carbon reductions.
At present all Airbus aircraft are certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene. The company aims to achieve certification of 100% SAF by the end of this decade, a communication from Airbus noted.
One of the first A380s to be produced, the MSN1 was earlier revealed as Airbus’ ZEROe Demonstrator. This aircraft will be used as a flying testbed for future technologies that will help the company in bringing zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035.