Emirates commits to SAF test flight

Emirates and GE Aviation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a test flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by the end of 2022.

The programme will involve an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER powered by GE90 engines. The 100% SAF test flight is expected to demonstrate how widebody commercial aircraft using jet fuel made from alternative sources can lower lifecycle CO2 emissions compared to petroleum-based fuels.

Emirates CEO Adel Al Redha said: “We are committed to supporting initiatives that help minimise our CO2 emissions, and we've already made great strides in fuel efficiency and conservation as well as operational advancements across different areas of our business.

“Our agreement with GE Aviation will support progress on the industry's collective commitment to net zero emissions, and we look forward to continuing this close collaboration. Preparing for the test flight will be an important step towards securing certification of flights that are powered by 100% SAF.”

Emirates will work closely with regulators to secure approvals for experimental type certification, and will also coordinate with airframe, auxiliary power unit (APU) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on pre- and post-flight requirements, in addition to closely working with SAF suppliers on procurement and delivery logistics.

GE Aviation will complete necessary technical reviews to confirm the engines meet performance specifications, in addition to providing customer support and giving pre- and post-flight directions as needed. 

John S. Slattery, president and CEO of GE Aviation, added: “GE Aviation is committed to pursuing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from commercial aviation, including developing technologies for the fleet in service and the future of flight.

“This collaboration with Emirates is key to our efforts to standardise 100% SAF globally, which could provide a significant opportunity to expand the impact of SAF on aviation's carbon reduction efforts.”