• NATALIA SOUSA

First Test Flight of Airbus A319 neo using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel

The first in-flight study of a single-aisle aircraft running on unblended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has been launched by Airbus, Dassault Aviation, ONERA, the French Ministry of Transports and Safran.



During the flight test over the Toulouse region on 28 October, one CFM LEAP-1A engine of an Airbus A319neo test aircraft operated on 100% SAF. Initial results from the ground and flight tests are expected in 2022.

Total Energies provide the unblended SAF. It is made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), which primarily consists of used cooking oil and other waste fats. HEFA is made of paraffinic hydrocarbons and is free of aromatics and sulfur. Approximately 57 tonnes of SAF will be used for the entire test campaign. It is produced in Le Havre, France. The 100% SAF will also be utilised for compatibility and engine operability studies on the Safran Helicopters Arrano engine used on the Airbus Helicopters H160, which are expected to start in 2022.

In collaboration with DLR, Airbus is responsible for characterising and analysing the impact of 100% SAF on the ground and in-flight emissions. Safran focuses on compatibility studies related to the fuel system and engine adaptation for commercial and helicopter aircraft and their optimisation for various types of 100% SAF fuels. Safran will perform LEAP engine ground tests with 100% SAF at its Villaroche facilities later this year to complete the analysis. ONERA is supporting Airbus and Safran in analysing the compatibility of the fuel with aircraft systems and will be in charge of preparing, analysing and interpreting test results for the impact of 100% SAF on emissions and contrail formation. Dassault Aviation is contributing to the material and equipment compatibility studies and verifying 100% SAF biocontamination susceptibility.


The VOLCAN study (VOL avec Carburants Alternatifs Nouveaux) contributes to global decarbonisation efforts currently underway across the entire aeronautical industry. The study benefits from financing the France Relance recovery plan, the part thereof dedicated to the decarbonisation of aviation, which DGAC implements under the supervision of Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French Minister of Transports. The study’s ultimate goal is to promote the large-scale deployment and use of SAF, and certification of 100% SAF for use in single-aisle commercial aircraft and the new generation of business jets.

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