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Cooking oil mix powers French superjumbo Airbus A380 for three hours

The same plane is now set to fly from Toulouse to Nice using the same method

An Airbus Industries EADS Airbus A380 super jumbo close up on takeoff

The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest commercial passenger jet Pic: vaalaa / Shutterstock

An Airbus A380 has flown for three hours powered by a sustainable use cooking oil mix, the French company has confirmed, after conducting the experiment from Toulouse-Blagnac airport.

The double-decker A380 is the world’s largest commercial passenger plane. The test to power the jet began at 08:43 on Friday, March 25. 

The plane flew for three hours above Toulouse and Bordeaux. During the flight, it burned 27 tonnes of what is known as “sustainable aviation fuel” (SAF).

Mixed by a TotalEnergies team in Normandy, the fuel is “made from hydrotreated fatty acids and oil, free of flavouring and sulphur, and mainly consisting of used cooking oil and other fatty waste”, Airbus said.

Airbus test pilot Wolfgang Absmeier said: “We didn’t notice any difference from a pilot point of view. The engineers in the back were looking, of course, at a thousand parameters, but at first glance, there was no difference at all.

“Because it’s an iconic aeroplane, it’s great to fly in it as a passenger; it’s even greater to fly it as a pilot. It’s basically preparing the future for the next generation of aeroplanes, flying with sustainable aviation fuel.”

The same plane is now set to fly from Toulouse to Nice using the same method today (March 29).

It was Airbus’ third test flight using the fuel mix in the past 12 months, following a test run in an A350 in March 2021, and an A319neo in October.

The aircraft manufacturer has said that it is working towards using SAF to reduce its carbon emissions. It added that all of its planes are already certified to fly with up to 50% SAF on board, mixed with the traditional fuel kerosene.

The same test plane is also likely to be used to test the first flight powered by hydrogen, which is expected to take place in 2025.

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