Sustainable Aviation Fuel Alone Powers Regional Turboprop Test Flight

Refiner Neste supplied SAFl for certification tests of ATR aircraft.

Neste, the Finnish refiner of sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, said it collaborated with the aircraft manufacturer ATR and Swedish airline Braathens Regional Airlines to complete the first flight of a commercial regional aircraft using 100 percent SAF on Tuesday.

The company said the test flight of an ATR 72-600 took place in Sweden as part of the certification process for ATR aircraft using 100 percent SAF. The series of tests that began earlier this year included flights with one of the airplane’s two engines running on 100 percent SAF. Tuesday’s flight was the first with both engines running on SAF.

“Today is a historic day for aviation. After more than a century of commercial flights powered by kerosene, we are at the dawn of a new era,” said ATR CEO Stefano Bortoli. “The flight represents a true milestone for the entire aviation industry as it shows that this technology works and can be promptly adopted by many in our industry to speed up the transition to low-emission aviation.”

Tuesday’s flight was the first with both engines running on SAF. [Courtesy: Neste]

Chief ATR pilot Cyril Cizabuiroz, co-pilot Jean-Pierre Marre, and flight test mechanic Pascal Daussin flew the Braathens aircraft from Malmö, a coastal city in southern Sweden, to Bromma, near Stockholm, which took about an hour and 20 minutes, Neste said. More detailed results of the flight will be analyzed and released at a later date.

“Test flights like this show it is possible to safely fly on 100-percent SAF and help accelerate the adoption of SAF in aviation,” said Jonathan Wood, Neste’s vice president for renewable aviation, European region. “When used in neat form, at 100-percent concentration as on this test flight, Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions over its life cycle by up to 80 percent compared to fossil jet fuel use,” he added.

The companies said they expect to complete certification by 2025. Neste last week announced it had worked with well-known pipeline systems in the U.S. to deliver SAF to LaGuardia Airport (KLGA) in New York.

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