First A380 powered by 100% SAF takes to the skies; IATA develops pax CO2 calculation methodology

Airbus A380 has performed a first A380 flight powered by 100 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Airbus’ A380 test aircraft MSN 1 took off from Blagnac Airport, Toulouse, France at 08h43 on Friday 25 March. The flight lasted about three hours, operating one Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine on 100 percent SAF.

Twenty-seven tonnes of unblended SAF were provided by Total Energies for this flight. The SAF produced in Normandy, close to Le Havre, France, was made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), free of aromatics and sulphur, and primarily consisting of used cooking oil, as well as other waste fats. A second flight, with the same aircraft, is scheduled to take place from Toulouse to Nice Airport, on the 29 March to test the use of SAF during take-off and landing.

This is the third Airbus aircraft type to fly on 100 percent SAF over the course of 12 months; the first was an Airbus A350 in March 2021 followed by an A319neo single-aisle aircraft in October 2021. Increasing the use of SAF remains a key pathway to achieving the industry’s ambition of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Key statistics outlined in the Waypoint 2050 report indicate that SAF could contribute between 53 percent and 71 percent of required carbon reductions.

All Airbus aircraft are currently certified to fly with up to a 50 percent blend of SAF mixed with kerosene. The aim is to achieve certification of 100 percent SAF by the end of this decade. The A380 aircraft used during the test is the same aircraft recently revealed as Airbus’ ZEROe Demonstrator – a flying testbed for future technologies instrumental to bringing the world’s first zero-emission aircraft to market by 2035.

IATA announces passenger CO2 calculation methodology

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the launch of the IATA Recommended Practice Per-Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology. IATA’s Methodology, using verified airline operational data, provides the most accurate calculation methodology for the industry to quantify CO2 emissions per passenger for a specific flight. As travelers, corporate travel managers, and travel agents are increasingly demanding precise flight CO2 emission information, an accurate and standardised calculation methodology is critical. This is particularly true in the corporate sector where such calculations are needed to underpin voluntary emissions reductions targets.

IATA Director General Willie Walsh at the 2021 annual general meeting in Boston. (PHOTO: IATA)

“Airlines have worked together through IATA to develop an accurate and transparent methodology using verified airline operational data. This provides the most accurate CO2 calculation for organisations and individuals to make informed choices about flying sustainably. This includes decisions on investing in voluntary carbon offsetting or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) use,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

IATA’s Methodology takes into account the following factors:

    1. Guidance on fuel measurement, aligned with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)
    2. Clearly defined scope to calculate CO2 emissions in relation to airlines’ flying activities
    3. Guidance on non-CO2 related emissions and Radiative Forcing Index (RFI)
    4. Weight based calculation principle: allocation of CO2 emission by passenger and belly cargo
    5. Guidance on passenger weight, using actual and standard weight
    6. Emissions Factor for conversion of jet fuel consumption to CO2, fully aligned with CORSIA
    7. Cabin class weighting and multipliers to reflect different cabin configurations of airlines
    8. Guidance on SAF and carbon offsets as part of the CO2 calculation

“The plethora of carbon calculation methodologies with varying results creates confusion and dents consumer confidence. Aviation is committed to achieving net zero by 2050. By creating an accepted industry standard for calculating aviation’s carbon emissions, we are putting in place essential support to achieve this goal. The IATA Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology is the most authoritative tool and it is ready for airlines, travel agents, and passengers to adopt,” added Walsh.

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