Airbus has performed its first-ever A380 flight powered by 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
The giant A380 was the third aircraft type to fly on 100-per-cent sustainable fuel over the past year; the first was an Airbus A350 in March last year, followed by an A319 Neo-single-aisle aircraft October.
According to the aircraft company, increasing the use of SAF is key to achieving the airline industry’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Key statistics outlined in the Waypoint 2050 report states that SAF use could contribute between 53 to 73 per cent of required carbon reduction.
The A380 test aircraft MSN 1 took off from Blagnac Airport, France, on March 25. The flight lasted roughly three hours with one of its four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines running on sustainable fuel.
The SAF was made from used cooking oil and other waste fats, processed as Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), free from sulphur and aromatics. According to a statement from Airbus, 27 tonnes of unblended SAF were used for this flight, supplied courtesy of oil and gas company TotalEnergies.
A second flight with the same aircraft also took place from Toulouse to Nice Airport on March 29 to test SAF use during take-off and landing.
The A380 aircraft used during the tests is the same aircraft recently revealed as Airbus’ ZeroE Demonstrator – a flying testbed for future technologies instrumental to bringing the world’s first zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035.
All Airbus aircraft are certified to fly using up to 50-per-cent SAF mixed with kerosene, but the company aims to take things a step further by earning 100-per-cent SAF flight certifications by 2030.
“Increasing the use of SAF remains a key pathway to achieving the industry’s ambition of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” explains Airbus.