A380 takes alternative test flight

The Airbus A380 today became the first commercial aircraft to fly with a synthetic liquid fuel processed from gas


The Airbus A380 today became the first commercial aircraft to fly with a synthetic liquid fuel made from gas.



The fuel for the three-hour flight between Filton in the UK and Toulouse, France was derived from a gas to liquids (GTL) process and supplied by Shell.



The Airbus tests are running in parallel to an agreement signed in November 2007 with Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Fuels, QatarScience & TechnologyPark, Rolls Royce and Shell International Petroleum Company to research the potential benefits of synthetic jet fuel processed from gas.



Under Airbus’ overall alternatives fuels research programme, this is the first step of a long-term Airbus testing phase to evaluate viable fuels for the future.



‘Fuel and energy are key challenges aviation is facing and for which technology and international research collaboration open up new horizons. Our alternative fuels roadmap requires innovation, diversity of ideas and options that need to be explored’, said Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders. ‘This takes bold cross industry and cross border collaboration and that’s what we are showing today with our groundbreaking first test flight with alternative fuels.’



Airbus believes that GTL could one day be available at certain locations to make it a practical and viable drop-in alternative fuel for commercial aviation in the short term.