Airbus recently flew an A321neo on a test flight with both of the aircraft’s engines powered by 100% unblended Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
The test flight occurred on March 9, 2023 at Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse, France.
The A321neo version, powered by LEAP-1A engines from CFM International, is being used for the latest tests in order to evaluate the potential benefits of unblended SAF versus conventional aviation fuel.
The A321neo is the first Airbus single-aisle aircraft – and the latest Airbus aircraft overall, following the A350 and A330 MRTT – to test 100% sustainable aviation fuel on both engines.
During the test flight, the A321neo was followed closely by a data-collecting Falcon 20E aircraft, in order to gather information on non-CO2 emissions and the creation of contrails.
Airbus has said that the A321neo’s flights were the latest demonstration within the VOLCAN project, an acronym standing for ‘VOL avec Carburants Alternatifs Nouveaux’, French for ‘flight with new alternative fuels’.
For the VOLCAN project, Airbus has been joined by French aerospace companies Safran and Dassault Aviation, along with the ONERA aeronautics research laboratory and the French Ministry of Transport.
Currently, all Airbus commercial and military aircraft, as well as helicopters, are capable of flying with a blend of up to 50% SAF. Airbus’ goal is to ensure 100% SAF capability by 2030.