Airbus has performed a first A380 flights powered by 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Airbus’ A380 test aircraft MSN 1 took off from Blagnac Airport, Toulouse, France last Friday (March 25). The flight lasted about three hours, operating one Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine on 100 per cent SAF.

Twenty-seven tonnes of unblended SAF were provided by TotalEnergies for the flight. The SAF produced in Normandy, close to Le Havre, France, was made from hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA), free of aromatics and sulphur, which primarily consisted of used cooking oil, as well as other waste fats. A second flight, with the same aircraft, was scheduled to take place from Toulouse to Nice Airport, on March 29 to test the use of SAF during take-off and landing.

The A380 is the third Airbus aircraft type to fly on 100 per cent SAF over the course of 12 months; the first was an Airbus A350 in March 2021 followed by an A319neo single-aisle aircraft in October 2021.

Increased SAF use is “key pathway” to net zero

Increasing the use of SAF remains a key pathway to achieving the industry’s ambition of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Key statistics outlined in the Waypoint 2050 report indicate that SAF could contribute between 53 per cent and 71 per cent of required carbon reductions.

All Airbus aircraft are currently certified to fly with up to a 50 per cent blend of SAF mixed with kerosene. The aim is to achieve certification of 100 per cent SAF by the end of this decade.

The A380 aircraft used during the test 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.

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