Emirates Operates First SAF-Powered Flight From Singapore

An Emirates aircraft is refuelled with SAF at Singapore
Photo Credit: Emirates

Emirates has begun using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on flights departing from Singapore Changi Airport.

This is a first for the airline in Asia, and marks the activation of an agreement with Neste. It also signifies a crucial step in the airline’s ongoing commitment to reducing its environmental impact.

Integration of SAF Supply at Changi

Over the past few weeks, roughly 3.3 million liters of blended SAF have been integrated into Changi Airport’s fueling system.

This initiative builds upon their earlier collaboration with Neste in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, where 2.6 million liters of neat SAF were supplied.

The fuel used in both instances comes from 100% renewable sources, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste, making it a sustainable alternative to conventional jet fuel.

Importantly, this SAF is fully compatible with existing Emirates aircraft and airport infrastructure. In its neat form, it can significantly reduce lifecycle carbon emissions (CO2) by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel.

SAF Uptake in Asia

“This investment in Neste-produced SAF in Singapore represents a major step forward for our SAF adoption in Asia,” said Adel Al Redha, Deputy President and Chief Operations Officer of Emirates.

“We see Asia as a potential leader in SAF production, but the fuel source is currently limited. While this agreement is a milestone, there’s more work to be done.”

“We’re securing short-term supplies while pursuing long-term agreements to ensure a steady flow of SAF for our operations.”

Neste, Emirates’ partner in this endeavor, is equally enthusiastic. Alexander Kueper, Vice President of their Renewable Aviation Business, remarked, “We’re thrilled that Emirates has chosen our Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel at Changi Airport.”

“This makes them the first international carrier using SAF produced at our Singapore refinery and supplied through our integrated system. We look forward to collaborating further to expand SAF availability for Emirates’ flights.”

An Emirates Boeing 777 being fuelled with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

Emirates SAF Strategy

Emirates’ comprehensive SAF strategy encompasses several key aspects. They aim to:

  • Utilize SAF operationally wherever possible within their network.
  • Collaborate with corporate customers and freight forwarders to share emission reductions.
  • Partner with reputable entities on long-term SAF projects.
  • Support the development of SAF ventures in the UAE to create a potential future supply source for their Dubai hub.
An Emirates aircraft is refuelled with SAF at Amsterdam Schiphol.
Photo Credits: Emirates

The airline currently integrates SAF into flights from Amsterdam, London Heathrow, Paris, Lyon, and Oslo. Additionally, they incorporated SAF into their Dubai hub’s fueling systems in late 2023.

Emirates further solidified their commitment to sustainability by conducting the world’s first demonstration flights using 100% SAF in one engine on a Boeing 777 and A380 in 2023.

This initiative, partnered with Neste and others, paves the way for future certification of full SAF use in commercial aviation.

While currently, SAF blends can only reach up to 50% with conventional jet fuel, this advancement signifies promising progress.

Investment in R&D

Beyond fuel alternatives, Emirates has invested $200 million in research and development (R&D) focused on minimizing the environmental impact of commercial aviation.

They recently became an industrial partner of the Aviation Impact Accelerator (AIA) at the University of Cambridge.

Through this partnership, Emirates intends to contribute valuable data and insights to support the development of cutting-edge solutions for long-term sustainability in the aviation industry.

Furthermore, the airline is a member of the Solent Cluster in the UK, an initiative exploring low-carbon investments with the potential to create a 200,000-tonne-per-year SAF production plant by 2032.

Emirates’ participation in the UAE research consortium Air-CRAFT further demonstrates their dedication to advancing SAF technologies for the entire aviation industry.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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