Emirates operates world's first A380 demo flight with 100% SAF

ARN News Staff

Emirates has become the world’s first airline to operate an A380 demonstration flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Commanded by Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet, the flight took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB) with one of four engines powered on 100% SAF, helping demonstrate its potential as a drop-in replacement that matches jet fuel’s technical and chemical requirements, while being a more sustainable alternative.

It paves the way for future standardisation, qualification and adoption for 100 per cent SAF flying, as governments adopt broader strategies to support the production and scale up of SAF.

The A380 demonstration flight underlines the performance and compatibility of SAF, making it a safe and reliable fuel source, and contributes to the growing body of research carried out by the industry to evaluate the beneficial effects of 100 per cent SAF on aircraft performance.

SAF is currently capped at a 50 per cent blend limit in engines for commercial flights. 

The Emirates flight comes as the aviation industry, international organisations, regulatory bodies and high-level officials driving policy-related decisions converge in Dubai for the Third International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3).

Last week, robust engine testing for an A380 Engine Alliance GP7200 engine using 100% SAF was carried out, with the objective of validating the engine’s capability to run on the specially blended 100 per cent drop-in SAF without affecting its performance or requiring any modifications.  Ground engine testing took place at the state-of-the-art Emirates Engineering Centre in Dubai. 

"This marks another significant step in validating the use of SAF in one of the engines of the A380, a wide-body aircraft with four engines. The growing global demand for lower-emission jet fuel alternatives is there, and the work of producers and suppliers to commercialise SAF and make it available will be critical in the coming years to help Emirates and the wider industry advance our path to lower carbon emissions," highlighted Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates Airline.

Earlier this year, Emirates successfully completed the first 100% SAF-powered demonstration flight in the region on a GE90-powered Boeing 777-300ER. 

Last month, the first Emirates flights operating with SAF provided by Shell Aviation took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB).  Shell supplied 315,000 gallons of blended SAF for use at the airline’s hub in Dubai. 

The airline recently expanded its partnership with Neste for the supply of over 3 million gallons of blended SAF in 2024 and 2025 for flights departing from Amsterdam Schiphol and Singapore Changi airports.

Emirates currently uplifts SAF in Norway and France and the airline continues to seek opportunities to use SAF at various airports as supply becomes available. 

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