Emirates Operates Milestone Boeing 777-300ER Flight Powered by 100 Percent SAF
Emirates has operated their first milestone Boeing 777-300ER demonstration flight with one engine powered by 100 percent SAF. The one hour flight over the Dubai coastline was commanded by Captain Fali Vajifdar and Captain Khalid Nasser Akram.
On Monday (January 30, 2023), Emirates announced the successful completion of their milestone demonstration flight powered by 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Under the command of Captain Fali Vajifdar and Captain Khalid Nasser Akram, the one-hour flight from Dubai International Airport (DXB) over the coastline was operated with a Boeing 777-300ER, with one GE90 engine powered by 100 percent SAF. Emirates’ sustainable demonstration flight, a first in the MENA region, was supported by GE Aerospace, Boeing, Neste and Virent, in the development of a SAF blend that closely replicates the properties of conventional jet fuel. For the landmark flight, 18 tons of SAF were blended, comprised of HEFA-SPK (hydro-processed esters, fatty acids and synthetic paraffinic kerosene) provided by Neste and HDO-SAK (hydro-deoxygenated synthetic kerosene) from Virent to power one engine, with standard jet fuel powering the other.
In Monday’s announcement, Emirates Airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, said,
“This flight is a milestone moment for Emirates and a positive step for our industry as we work collectively to address one of our biggest challenges - reducing our carbon footprint. It has been a long journey to finally see this demonstration 100% SAF flight take off. Emirates is the first passenger airline in the world to operate a Boeing 777 powering a GE engine with 100% SAF. Such initiatives are critical contributors to industry knowledge on SAF, and provide data to demonstrate the use of higher blends of SAF for future regulatory approvals. We hope that landmark demonstrations flights like this one, will help open the door to scale up the SAF supply chain and make it more available and accessible across geographies, and most importantly, affordable for broader industry adoption in the future.”
Emirates already runs a comprehensive fuel efficiency program to reduce unnecessary fuel-burn and emissions, including the operation of ‘flex tracks’ for the most efficient routing of each flight. These initiatives have been ongoing since 2003, and in coordination with IATA, Emirates hopes to extend this routing system worldwide as standard operating procedure where possible. Emirates operated their first SAF-blend powered flight in 2017 from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) with a Boeing 777, and also received their first SAF-powered Airbus A380 delivery in 2020. That same year, the airline also uplifted 32 tons of SAF for flights from Stockholm. The milestone 100 percent SAF-powered test flight showcases the UAE’s ‘Year of Sustainability’ initiative for 2023, and supports Emirates and IATA’s collective industry commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.