Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways continues to make progress on its sustainability journey. The airline announced today it was operating the first flight with sustainable aviation fuel sourced in Japan. In collaboration with Itochu and Neste, Flight EY871 departed from Tokyo Narita airport on Thursday, powered by a close to 40% sustainable fuel blend. This makes the airline the first international carrier to have uplifted SAF in Japan.

Thursday’s operation is the first of an agreement for 50,000 gallons of SAF to be used over a number of flights in the coming week. By using a blend of 39.66% SAF on the Boeing 787-9 flight from Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Abu Dhabi (AUH), Etihad will reduce CO2 by approximately 75.2 tCO2.

Cassie Mackie, Vice President of Procurement and Supply Chain at Etihad, commented on the new SAF milestone,

“The aviation industry needs partnerships like the one we have created with ITOCHU and NESTE to bring widespread SAF adoption to the industry. We are extremely proud to be the first international airline to procure and use Japanese-supplied SAF on flights departing Japan and to see this partnership take to the air.”

Etihad Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Photo: Getty Images

Preventing contrails with atmospheric modeling

Meanwhile, the flight also managed non-CO2 environmental impacts through the avoidance of contrails using SATAVIA technology for optimized flight planning through atmospheric modeling. The forecast net climate impact reduction is 71 tCO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) and will be determined by post-flight climate impact analysis. On Thursday, EY871 departed at 17:16 local time. It is operated by A6-BLS, a four-year-old Boeing 787-9. At the time of writing, it was making its way over Myanmar and was estimated to land in the UAE at 22:59.

Will SAF be big in Japan?

The Japanese government has set a target for all jet fuel uplifted in the country to consist of 10% SAF by 2030. Itochu has already established a domestic supply chain at both of Tokyo’s main airports. Meanwhile, it intends to soon expand its sustainable fuel offerings to Central Japan International Airport and Kansai International Airport. Furthermore, the company will now be delivering its SAF to international carriers – starting with Etihad.

While domestic supply remains limited, Japan Airlines has bought 26.5 million gallons of SAF through a oneworld alliance pact which will be delivered to airports in the US from 2027. Meanwhile, the carrier operated the first flight with domestically produced SAF in February last year – with fuel made from used cotton garments.

Japan Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner JA875J

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

This summer, All Nippon Airways (ANA) launched its SAF Flight Initiative, the first of its kind among Asian airlines, offering corporate clients to pay extra for the use of sustainable aviation fuel in order to reduce their Scope 3 emissions. The airline has also established a procurement supply chain together with Neste with the support of Itochu and will expand the collaboration after 2023 based on a multi-year agreement.

  • Etihad Boeing 787-9

    Etihad Airways

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Abu Dhabi International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Tony Douglas

    United Arab Emirates

Source: simpleflying.com

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