Twin turboprop Braathens ATR becomes first commercial aircraft to fly on 100% SAF

The world’s first successful all SAF-fuelled flight of a commercial aircraft, an ATR 72-600 prototype ©ATR

The results of a successful collaboration between regional aircraft manufacturer ATR, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplier Neste, and the Swedish carrier Braathens Regional Airlines have culminated in the world’s first successful all SAF-fuelled flight of a commercial aircraft, an ATR 72-600 prototype.

It is estimated that SAF reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% during its life cycle. The ATR 72-600 twin turboprop is powered by Pratt & Whitney PWC 127F engines and according to ATR, the aircraft already emits 40% less CO2 per trip than equivalent regional jets operating on standard aviation fuel. The aircraft had performed successful ground and flight tests earlier in the year with one engine fuelled by SAF.

It is hoped that the collaboration between the firms will see the certification process for 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) completed by 2025. As a drop-in fuel, it can be used in existing aircraft engines and is compatible with current airport fuel infrastructure. Jonathan Wood, Neste’s Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation commented: “Test flights like this show it is possible to safely fly on 100% SAF and help accelerate the adoption of SAF in aviation.”

Per G Braathen, Chairman of Braathens Regional Airlines stated “As a leading Swedish domestic airline our sustainability focus started long before any other airline, and this milestone is one of the main pillars and represents a real innovation for the industry. It proved that 100% SAF is the most immediate and effective option we have to reduce CO2 emissions and move faster to a decarbonised industry.”

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