Airbus has performed the first A380 flight powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
Airbus’ A380 test aircraft MSN 1 took off from Blagnac Airport, Toulouse, France at 08h43 on Friday 25 March. The flight lasted about three hours, operating one Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine on 100% SAF.
27 tonnes of unblended SAF were provided by Total Energies for this flight. The SAF produced in Normandy, close to Le Havre, France, was made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), free of aromatics and sulphur, and primarily consisting of used cooking oil, as well as other waste fats.
A second flight, with the same aircraft, is scheduled to take place from Toulouse to Nice Airport, on the 29 March to test the use of SAF during take-off and landing.
This is the third Airbus aircraft type to fly on 100% SAF over the course of 12 months; the first was an Airbus A350 in March 2021 followed by an A319neo single-aisle aircraft in October 2021.
All Airbus aircraft are currently certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene. The aim is to achieve certification of 100% SAF by the end of this decade.
Most in the aviation see Increasing the use of SAF as the key way by which the sector will reduce its carbon emissions in the short to medium term while engineers develop and test electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft.
The A380 aircraft used during the test is the same aircraft recently revealed as Airbus’ ZEROe flying testbed, which the company is using to test a hydrogen-fueled jet engine in partnerships with CFM International.