10/12/2009: World’s First Revenue Gas-to-liquid Fuel Flight

10/12/2009: World’s First Revenue Gas-to-liquid Fuel Flight

DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Qatar Airways (QR) operated the world’s first revenue flight powered by gas-to-liquid (GTL) kerosene fuel in 2009.

The flight became the second 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 and members of the consortium who developed the fuel, including Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Shell, and QR, plus international media and QR CEO Akbar Al Baker.

Synthetic fuel development was first announced at the Dubai Air Show in November 2007 by a team comprising QR, Qatar Petroleum, Shell, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Qatar Science & Technology Park, and Woqod (Qatar Fuel Company).

VIPs join Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker (fifth left) at the history-making send-off of flight QR001, an Airbus A340-600 aircraft, to London Heathrow (LHR) that used revolutionary new GTL fuel for the first time from Qatar. Photo: Qatar Airways

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 toward net-zero emissions. This time, it powered a Boeing 737-800 operated by KLM (KL) from Amsterdam (AMS) to Madrid (MAD).

Featured image: Qatar Airways A340-600. Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt, GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons.

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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