MIAMI — On Saturday, Etihad Airways utilized a Boeing 777 for a 45-minute biofuel demonstration flight powered by U.A.E.-produced sustainable aviation biofuel.  The demonstration flight took place just as Etihad Airways, Takreer, Total, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology announced plans to collaborate on a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in the United Arab Emirates.

Known as BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability, the group plans to develop a comprehensive framework for a U.A.E. biofuel supply chain. Etihad’s successful biofuel demonstration flight shows great promise in a successful program.

“In collaboration with our key partners, our goal is to support and help drive the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuel in Abu Dhabi, the region and also globally,” said Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan. “We have made some important first steps in this process and our continued focus will be to develop further initiatives such as this which will facilitate the availability of sustainable aviation biofuels for Etihad Airways in the coming years.”

This is not the first biofuel initiative that Etihad has taken. They operated the Gulf region’s first biofuel flight in January 2011 with a Boeing 777 delivery from Seattle to Abu Dhabi powered by a blend of petroleum-based and certified plant oil-based jet fuel.

Plus, Boeing and Etihad have worked together to be among the founding partners of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium where they have been researching and developing salt-tolerant plants to be raw biofuel materials.

“With further commitment and investment, the U.A.E., a global leader in commercial aviation, is well-positioned to lead efforts to make our industry more sustainable,” said Jeffrey Johnson, president, Boeing Middle East. “Boeing works with partners around the world to advance sustainable biofuel development and sees great opportunity for BIOjet Abu Dhabi to have a positive impact in the U.A.E. and globally.”

U.A.E. is now one of just a handful of countries that have produced and flown on their own aviation biofuel.