Airbus has completed the first ever commercial aircraft flight powered using alternative fuel – stage one in its long-term testing programme examining the environmental impact of civil aviation fuels.
An Airbus A380 aeroplane made the three hour journey from Filton to Toulouse in France with GTL (gas to liquids) – a synthetic bio-fuel processed from gas and is almost completely free of sulphur – powering its first engine. Standard jet fuel was fed into the other three engines.
“Technology and innovation will be the answers to addressing aviation’s impact on the environment,” said SBAC chief executive Ian Godden. “The industry is satisfying the ever-increasing demand to fly from customers but it is also meeting their requirements to fly more sustainably.”
“This has been a great achievement. Fuel and environment are key challenges aviation is facing and for which technology and international research collaboration open up new horizons,” explained Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO. “This takes bold cross industry and cross border collaboration and that’s what we are showing today with our groundbreaking first test flight with alternative fuels. It is part and parcel of Airbus’ commitment to providing leadership as an eco-efficient enterprise.”