Regional Aircraft Flies Powered by 100% SAF in Both Engines for the First Time in History

The ATR-72 600 is on its way to becoming certified for 100% SAF 6 photos
Photo: ATR
An ATR prototype aircraft flew with SAF in both enginesAn ATR prototype aircraft flew with SAF in both enginesAn ATR prototype aircraft flew with SAF in both enginesAn ATR prototype aircraft flew with SAF in both enginesAn ATR prototype aircraft flew with SAF in both engines
Hydrogen-electric and battery-electric aircraft for regular commercial operations are still years away, but sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is the eco-friendly solution that’s available here and now. Numerous SAF-powered flight tests were carried out within the past two years, but this one is truly historic.
Until now, various players in the aviation industry and even in the military have tested out SAF for conventional aircraft, using it in one engine, while the other used kerosene. For the first time in history, a Swedish airline conducted a successful test flight powering both of the airplane’s engines with 100% SAF.

The pioneering flight took place in Sweden, from Malmo, a coastal city in the south of the country to Bromma, close to Stockholm. It lasted for one hour and 20 minutes, and it wrote history, as the first one to have achieved this. The main actors who made this possible are ATR, Braathens Regional Airlines, Neste, and Pratt & Whitney.

A joint venture between two giants, Airbus and Leonardo, ATR was designed to become a leading regional aircraft manufacturer. The ATR-72 600 was used for these SAF test flights, which were initially carried out with the green jet fuel in just one of the engines, building up to this trailblazing flight.

Neste is the fuel supplier, claiming that the alternative fuel that it produces can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%, compared to standard kerosene, throughout the lifecycle. Also, as a drop-in fuel, it can be used in existing engines without requiring modifications, and it’s compatible with the existing fuel infrastructure at airports.

This test concluded the series of ground and flight tests for the certification of the ATR 72-600 prototype. The tests began earlier this year, but the 100% SAF certification process for this aircraft was initiated last year. It’s a complex process, which will most likely be completed by 2025, according to the project partners. Then, the Braathens Regional Airlines’ ATR aircraft will be conducting unprecedented SAF-powered flights, transforming regional aviation.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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