MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Qatar Airways (QR) operated the world’s first revenue flight powered by gas-to-liquid (GTL) kerosene fuel in 2009. It became the second flight powered by synthetic fuel after Airbus operated an A380 between Bristol (BRS) and Toulouse (TLS).

Flight QR076, operated by an Airbus A340-600 took off from London Gatwick (LGW) bound for Doha (DOH) with a full load of passengers. Also onboard were members of the consortium who developed the fuel including Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Shell, and QR; plus international media and QR CEO Akbar Al Baker.

The Airbus A340-600 replaced the usual A330 on the six-hour flight. (Photo: Airways Collection)

A Milestone Step


Speaking at the time, Mr. Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways is proud to be associated with this consortium and to become the world’s first airline to use this new fuel technology on a commercial passenger flight. This milestone flight is the first step in making this alternative fuel available to airlines. Qatar Airways looks forward to continuing to work with the consortium members to further develop this exciting project and commit towards a cleaner environment.”

All four of the aircraft’s Rolls Royce Trent 500 engines were powered by a 50:50 blend of GTL and Jet A1 kerosene. Developed by Shell the fuel was the latest step in over two years of scientific work into the benefits of using GTL fuel to power passenger flights.

On February 8, 2021, Shell used the fuel again in a further attempt to help aviation progress towards net-zero emissions. This time it powered a Boeing 737-800 operated by KLM (KL) from Amsterdam (AMS) to Madrid (MAD).

The KLM flight was fuelled with 500 liters of certified synthetic kerosene created from a non-fossil fuel source, mixed with regular Jet fuel. (Photo: Shell Global)

Featured image: The synthetic fuel development was first announced at the Dubai Air Show in November 2007 by a team comprising Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Shell, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Qatar Science & Technology Park, and Woqod (Qatar Fuel Company). Photo: Laurent ERRERA from L’Union, France, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.