Airbus has taken the next step in reducing its industrial carbon footprint with the maiden flight of a Beluga super-transporter using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from the aerospace company’s Broughton plant in the UK. The north Wales line station, which uses the Beluga fleet to transport aircraft wings to Toulouse, Hamburg and Bremen, becomes the second Airbus European site to use SAF, after Hamburg introduced the fuel to its cargo activities at the end of 2019.
“This first flight by a Beluga transporter from Broughton, partially fuelled with SAF, marks an important milestone in Airbus’ ambition to decarbonise its industrial operations,” said Tony Derrien, Sustainable Aviation Fuels Project Manager, Airbus. “Combined with our ongoing research into the potential for 100% SAF in commercial flights, reducing fossil-fuels in our own operations underlines Airbus’ commitment to lessening the impact of our manufacturing footprint and contributing towards a more sustainable future for the aviation sector more generally.”
Sustainable aviation fuels are currently certified by regulators for up to 50% use in commercial flights; the Beluga fleet operating from Broughton will initially be loaded with a 35% blend of non-fossil derived fuel, set to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 400 tonnes over the next three months. The SAF used by the Beluga fleet is made from used sustainable feedstocks, such as cooking oil, and supplied to Airbus in Broughton and Hamburg by Air bp.
Andy Owen, Beluga Line Station Manager at Broughton, added: “The progressive deployment of sustainable aviation fuels at Airbus’ sites is an essential part of our decarbonisation roadmap. We’re proud that Broughton has become the second Airbus site to introduce SAF in its Beluga-fleet operations.”