AP – Long-haul carrier Emirates successfully flew a Boeing 777 on a test flight yesterday with one engine entirely powered by so-called sustainable aviation fuel. This comes as carriers worldwide try to lessen their carbon footprint.
Flight EK2646 flew for just under an hour over the coastline of the United Arab Emirates, after taking off from Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, and heading out into the Persian Gulf before circling back to land.
The fuel powered one of the Boeing’s two General Electric Co engines, with the other running on conventional jet fuel for safety.
“This flight is a milestone moment for Emirates and a positive step for our industry as we work collectively to address one of our biggest challenges – reducing our carbon footprint,” Emirates’ chief operation officer Adel al-Redha said in a statement.
Emirates, a state-owned airline under Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, described the sustainable fuel as a blend “that mirrored the qualities of jet fuel”.
It included fuel from Neste, a Finnish firm, and Virent, a Madison, Wisconsin-based company.
Virent describes itself as using plant-based sugars to make the compounds needed for sustainable jet fuel, while Neste’s fuel comes from vegetable oils and animal fats. Those fuels reduce the release of carbon dioxide typically burned off by engines in flight.