First ever 100 per cent SAF-powered commercial aircraft takes flight
Marking a historic moment in aviation, ATR and Braathens Regional Airlines have enabled the first ever 100 per cent SAF-powered test flight on a commercial regional aircraft.
Regional aircraft manufacturer ATR, Swedish airline, Braathens Regional Airlines, and a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplier collaborated to enable the first ever 100 per cent SAF-powered test flight on a commercial regional aircraft. The test flight further supports aviation’s decarbonisation targets and acceleration of SAF certification.
This historic test flight took place in Sweden and is part of the 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) certification process of ATR aircraft that started in September 2021 and should be completed by 2025. It has been the latest in a series of successful ground and flight tests on the ATR 72-600 prototype aircraft performed at the beginning of 2022, including flights with 100 per cent SAF in one engine, and was the first time it was done with 100 per cent SAF in two engines.
ATR CEO Stefano Bortoli commented: “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 SAF in one engine. We now decided it was time to perform the first test flight with 100 per cent 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.”
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Per G Braathen, Chairman of Braathens Regional Airlines stated: “As a leading Swedish domestic airline, our sustainability focus started long before any other airline, and this milestone is one of the main pillars and represents a real innovation for the industry. It proved that 100 per cent SAF is the most immediate and effective option we have to reduce CO2 emissions and move faster to a decarbonised industry.”
Achieving the milestone was also made possible by Swedavia enabling the SAF to be uplifted to the ATR aircraft at Malmö airport and Pratt & Whitney, closely working together with ATR and Braathens in the preparations of this milestone flight.
The flight is proof that speeding up the transition to net-zero carbon emissions can only be achieved when all stakeholders within aviation work closely together. It is a milestone not just for Sweden but globally showing that the technology is available and has significant benefits to aviation, today and in the future.