Marking history with the first 100% sustainable Aviation Fuel Flight

Published on: 28 June 2022

On June 27th, ATR, Braathens Regional Airlines, and Neste, a provider of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), collaborated to complete the first commercial regional aircraft test flight powered entirely by SAF.

During a flight of an hour and 20 minutes, chief ATR pilot Cyril Cizabuiroz, Jean-Marie Marre, co-pilot, and Pascal Daussin, flight test mechanic, went from Malmö, a coastal city in southern Sweden, to Bromma near Stockholm flying the Braathens’ aircraft. The flight results from today will be examined and provided at a later date.

When used in neat form, Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ enables the reduction of greenhouse gases by 80% in comparison with fossil jet fuel.

"SAF plays a key role in achieving aviation’s emission reduction goals," stated Jonathan Wood, Neste’s Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation. "When used in neat form, at 100% concentration as on this test flight, Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions over its life cycle by up to 80% compared to fossil jet fuel use, and provides additional non-CO2 benefits through significantly reduced particulate emissions, among others. As a drop-in fuel, it can be used in existing aircraft engines and is compatible with current airport fuel infrastructure. Test flights like this show it is possible to safely fly on 100% SAF and help accelerate the adoption of SAF in aviation."

The test flight, which took place in Sweden, contributes to aviation's decarbonisation goals and accelerates SAF certification. In collaboration with Braathens and Neste, the test is part of the 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) certification process for ATR aircraft. It is said that the experiment should be complete by 2025. This is not the first successful enterprise ATR has realised; there have been a series of successful ground and flight tests on the ATR 72-600 prototype aircraft at the start of 2022.

ATR CEO Stefano Bortoli said: "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. In recent months, we carried out a series of successful flights with sustainable aviation fuel in one engine. We now decided it was time to perform the first test flight with 100% SAF in both engines. This helps us to certify our aircraft to fly solely on sustainable aviation fuels faster and to enable more sustainable connections as a result. 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."

This achievement is the first of many others to come and is proof that the transition to net-zero carbon emissions can be accelerated with close collaboration from all aviation stakeholders. This project is a milestone not only for Sweden, but for the entire world, demonstrating that such technology is accessible, has proved its worth, and has huge potential benefits for aviation. 

Source : Neste