DALLAS – Airbus has announced that it has successfully operated the first A380 flight with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on one of its engines. After the A350 and the A319neo, this is the third Airbus aircraft type to have achieved such a flight.
For the flight, Airbus used its A380 ZEROe Demonstrator, the MSN001 future tech testbed. The SAF-powered A380 took off from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS) in southern France last Friday. The flight lasted about three hours, operating one Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine on 100% SAF.
According to Airbus, 27 tonnes of unblended SAF were provided by Total Energies for this flight. The fuel was produced in Normandy, France, from used cooking oil and hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA), free from any aromatics or sulfur.
Airbus plans to operate a second flight from TLS to Nice (NCE). This flight will allow the company to further “test the use of SAF during take-off and landing.”
Currently, all Airbus aircraft are certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene. The goal is to achieve certification of 100% SAF by 2030.
Airbus’ Sustainability Achievements
So far, Airbus has flown an A319neo and an A350 with 100% SAF. According to the manufacturer, these flights show that “increasing the use of SAF remains a key pathway to achieving the industry’s ambition of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
“It is the first time that unblended SAF has been used on an A380 flight test platform,” underlines Wolfgang Absmeier, Airbus Test Pilot. “The flight test met all of our requirements, which will enable us to carry out the next phase of the project consisting of specific engine manoeuvers.”
François Pfindel, Head of Airbus’ A380 MAP, said, “This is another great example of the aviation industry coming together to work towards achieving certification of 100% SAF by 2030. Together, we’ve clearly demonstrated that an aircraft as large as the A380 can successfully operate on unblended SAF.”
With a special engine installed at the back of the aircraft, the Superjumbo is now a testbed for new hydrogen technologies and an integral part of Airbus’ ZEROe program for zero-emission aircraft.
Featured image: A380 MSN001. Airbus flew its first A380 100% SAF flight. Photo: Airbus