Airbus flies first A380 with one of four engines powered by 100% SAF

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has performed a flight test on an A380 with one of its engines powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), the first time it has done so for the A380.

Airbus said in a statement that the A380 test aircraft MSN 1 departed from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS) at 0843 local time March 25, 2022. The flight lasted about three hours, with one of the four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines operating on 100% SAF.

This is the third Airbus aircraft — following the A350 and the A319neo — to perform a flight test with  unblended sustainable aviation fuel during the last 12 months. It also marks the first flight test campaign to use 100% SAF on all flight phases, from take-off and climb to cruise and landing.

According to Airbus, all their aircraft are currently certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene. The aim is to achieve certification of 100% SAF by the end of this decade, Airbus said.

“This is another great example of the aviation industry coming together to work towards achieving certification of 100% SAF by 2030,” Airbus Head of A380 MAP François Pfindel said in a statement. 

“Together, we’ve clearly demonstrated that an aircraft as large as the A380 can successfully operate on unblended SAF.

Airlines and aviation companies are pushing for the use of SAF, which is so far only available in limited quantities. 

Airlines like Qantas are expanding its long-term use of SAF for flights out of Los Angeles / San Francisco and London, while Ryanair expects the use of SAF to make up one-third of its decarbonization plans. 

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