All Airbus aircraft are presently certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mixed with kerosene. While this may be an impressive factor, this figure is not enough for the manufacturer to reach its net-zero goals. As a result, the company wants to achieve certification for 100% on all its planes by the end of this decade.
There was a significant breakthrough in March this year when Airbus A350 took off from Toulouse, fuelled by 100% SAF. The firm joined forces with German aerospace research center DLR, oil refining company Neste, and Rolls-Royce on this mission.
Airbus plans to repeat the 100% SAF achievement on an A320neo before this year is over. This move will help it transition into a new generation of aviation in the coming years.
Altogether, the firm is intent on operating in a net-zero ecosystem by 2050. This is a mission that is in line with European Union’s goals for a carbon-neutral industry. However, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to operators adopting SAF. Airbus is also making effort to increase the momentum internally.
“All Airbus aircraft today are certified to fly with a 50% SAF blend. We have a clear ambition to achieve certification for 100% sustainable aviation fuel for our fleets by 2030. So, if we look, what is used today, SAF represents maybe 0.03% of the fuel which is used in civil aviation, and that’s for sure. We have a clear plan leading to 2030,” Sabine Klauke shared during the Airbus Summit.
“We are looking in our own premises, so we are using our own transport aircraft, the Beluga range, with sustainable aviation fuel. In some areas, depending on the airport, 36% is what we can reach, and we really want to go on. We also have biogas trucks in our supply chain. So it’s really about putting it wherever we can.”
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While the likes of Rolls-Royce are investing heavily in the deployment of electric aircraft, there is recognition of the importance of SAF. Electric aircraft will most notably help transform the way short-haul operations are handled. However, for long distances, SAF will be the focal point while hydrogen technology continues to mature. Nonetheless, Airbus has big plans for hydrogen, preparing for a 2035 introduction for its first hydrogen-based commercial aircraft.
In recent months, the likes of Ryanair, SWISS, JetBlue, Air France, and United Airlines, have all ramped up their SAF initiatives Overall, stakeholders across the aviation industry identify this field as a prime focus in the future of the market
What are your thoughts about Airbus’ sustainable aviation fuel goals? What do you make of the company’s targets? Let us know what you think of the firm’s operations in the comment section.