Vistara on Thursday said it has operated a Dreamliner plane using fuel blended with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) from the US to the national capital, becoming the first Indian carrier to fly on a long route using SAF. The airline also said that by using a blend of 30 per cent SAF with 70 per cent conventional jet fuel, Vistara was able to reduce around 1,50,000 pounds of CO2 emissions over the fuel's life cycle.
"The ground-breaking ferry flight from Charleston International Airport, South Carolina to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi was operated in partnership with The Boeing Company and GE Aerospace, on Vistara's newest GEnx-powered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, the fourth in its fleet," according to a release. Vistara has also become the first domestic carrier to operate a flight powered by fuel blended with SAF on a long-haul route.
"We take immense pride in carrying out another pioneering initiative to operate a wide-body aircraft on a long-haul route using SAF as we took delivery of our all-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. This is an important milestone in our commitment towards achieving carbon neutrality," Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan said.
Boeing India President Salil Gupte said the company remains committed to working with Vistara and other partners to promote the use of SAF in the Indian aviation industry and around the world. Vistara, which is currently owned by Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, and is set to be merged with Air India, is working under the Tata Aviation Sustainability Working Group along with the other aviation arms of the Tata group for reducing carbon emissions.
"The airline would also be jointly working through the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), to lower CO2 emissions for international flights and to curb the industry's impact on climate change," it added. GE Aerospace Country Head - South Asia & Indonesia Vikram Rai said the GEnx engine, like all GE Aerospace engines, can operate on approved SAF blends today.
"The GEnx is also up to 15 per cent more fuel efficient than its predecessor, helping reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in flight in addition to the benefits of SAF," he added. Vistara, which started operations in January 2015, has a fleet of 59 aircraft, including 45 Airbus A320, eight Airbus A321, two Boeing 737-800NG and four Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
In a separate release, GE Aerospace said the GEnx engine is a high-thrust jet engine developed for the 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 aircraft. GE Aerospace has been actively involved in assessing and qualifying SAF since 2007. It is working closely with producers, regulators and operators to help ensure SAF can be widely adopted for use in aviation, the release said. "SAF can be made from plant-based material, fats, oils and greases, alcohols, waste streams, captured CO2, and other alternative feedstocks. The use of alternative feedstocks and processes reduces lifecycle CO2 emissions from how SAF is made compared to fossil-based fuels," it added.