Malaysia Airlines has operated its inaugural flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on an Airbus A330-200 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. This marks the national flag carrier’s commitment to using SAF as a cleaner and more viable energy option for regular flights by 2025.
The flight, MH7979, departed from Amsterdam Airport Schipol at 12.55pm local time with 77 tonnes (77,300kg) of fuel with a 38% blend mixture of SAF. It arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 9:00am local time. The operation was made possible in partnership with Petronas’ Europe marketing and trading arm, PETCO Trading (UK) Ltd, and Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and SAF.
Malaysia Airlines has also prepared the flight with GE Digital’s FlightPulse and Fuel Insight software to assist the flight crew in planning for efficient fuel procedures during the flight. The data logged during the flight will be processed and analysed to help the Operations team better understand the opportunities to operate a more sustainable flight.
SAF uses 100% renewable waste
SAF is produced from sustainably-sourced, 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials which include used cooking oil and animal fat waste. According to the press statement, Neste MY’s SAF in its neat form can cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 80% compared to fossil jet fuel use. Neste MY’s SAF claims to be free of sulphur, oxygen and aromatics, and has outstanding cold-weather performance with a freeze point of -47°C or lower. Other SAF benefits include improved efficiency with a high cetane number of 75 and above for efficient and clean combustion. It’s also fully compatible with existing jet engines and infrastructure with no additional investments or modifications required.
Neste said it will continue to scale up its operations and will have the capacity to produce 1.5 million tons of SAF annually by the end of 2023. Malaysia Airlines via Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) has partnered with Petronas Dagang Berhad to jointly explore potential collaborative opportunities for the supply and adoption of SAF at KLIA.
MAG Group CEO Izham Ismail said “Building on the momentum from our Net Zero Emissions commitment earlier this year, we are proud to have crossed the significant landmark of operating the first Malaysian flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Moving forward, we expect SAF to be a key component of our strategy to deliver a more sustainable travel experience for our customers. With the completion of today’s significant first step, we are committed to working towards having a viable SAF supply chain here in Malaysia, and we believe the only way we could reach this goal is through strategic collaboration and support from our stakeholders.”
In its efforts to move towards overall decarbonisation and to diversity its production portfolio, Petronas is also venturing into the biofuels space through the development of a greenfield biorefinery as well as co-processing at existing Petronas facilities. The biorefinery is targetted to be ready for start-up (RFSU) in 2025 and it will be positioned to supply SAF with operational flexibility to produce hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) or renewable diesel.