Neste enables Emirates to operate first Airbus A380 demo flight with one engine powered with 100% SAF
Emirates, one of the world’s largest international airlines, has become the first airline to operate an Airbus A380 demonstration flight with one of the aircraft’s four engines powered with Neste’s sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Emirates’ flight demonstrates the potential of SAF as a more sustainable drop-in replacement for fossil-based jet fuel, matching its technical and chemical requirements.
SAF can currently be used in up to 50% blends with conventional fossil jet fuel. The 100% SAF used on the demo flight also includes renewable aromatic content. The fuel’s characteristics are similar to conventional jet fuel, making it a so-called “drop-in” fuel, requiring no modifications to the aircraft or its engines before use. This is the first time that 100% drop-in SAF is used on an A380 aircraft, with the expectation of full compatibility across the aircraft’s existing systems.
The A380 demonstration flight took off on 22 November from Dubai International Airport and is the result of close cooperation between Neste, Emirates, Airbus, Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney and Virent, with ENOC supporting the delivery of Neste’s SAF.
Neste provided its Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel (HEFA-SPK), to which the aromatic component from Virent (HDO-SAK: Hydro Deoxygenated Synthetic Aromatic Kerosene) was added by ENOC to produce a 100% renewable jet fuel that meets all the jet fuel requirements. HDO-SAK produced by Virent is made from plant-based feedstocks. It provides the aromatics in the fuel necessary in order to ensure the proper swelling of the elastomeric seals in the fuel systems and prevent leakage.
100% SAF made from renewable raw materials then powered one Engine Alliance GP7200 engine in the aircraft, while conventional fossil jet fuel was used in the other three engines. The PW980 auxiliary power unit (APU) from Pratt & Whitney Canada, providing power to aircraft systems when engines are not running, also ran on 100% SAF.
Emirates is the first passenger airline in the world to operate an A380 with 100% drop-in SAF powering one of four Engine Alliance GP7200 engines. This is another proud moment for Emirates and our partners, as we put words into action with the research into and the trialling of higher concentrations of SAF to eventually lead to industry adoption of 100% SAF flying. This marks another significant step in validating the use of SAF in one of the engines of the A380, a wide-body aircraft with four engines. The growing global demand for lower-emission jet fuel alternatives is there, and the work of producers and suppliers to commercialize SAF and make it available will be critical in the coming years to help Emirates and the wider industry advance our path to lower carbon emissions.—Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates Airline
The demonstration flight using Neste’s SAF follows the recent expansion of the partnership between Emirates and Neste for the supply of more than 9,000 tons (3 million gallons) of blended Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel over the course of 2024 and 2025 for Emirates’ flights departing from Amsterdam Schiphol and Singapore Changi airports.