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  • Neste Corp.

Southeast Asia’s 1st helicopter flight using SAF takes off from Seletar Airport in Singapore

Photo: Neste Corp.

Bell’s next-generation five-seater helicopter, the Bell 505, fueled with Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ (SAF) took off Sept. 26 at Seletar Airport in Singapore for a demonstration flight.

This is the first ever helicopter flight fueled with SAF in Southeast Asia, according to Neste Corp.

The milestone was achieved through a close cooperation between Bell, Safran Helicopter Engines and Neste, with Jet Aviation and Shell Aviation enabling the blended SAF to be uplifted through their facilities at Seletar Airport.

The demo flight showcases the commitment of the business aviation community, as an integral component of the aviation sector, to the industry’s ambitious emissions-reduction goals and adopting SAF as a key element in helping achieve them.

Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel reduces greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by up to 80 percent over the fuel’s lifecycle compared to fossil jet-fuel use.

SAF can currently be used up to 50 percent blended with conventional jet fuel, and Safran helicopter engines are already certified to operate on up to 50 percent SAF.

“Bell has been in Southeast Asia for more than 40 years and we are proud to operate the first SAF helicopter flight here on our Bell 505,” said Jacinto Monge, managing director of the Asia-Pacific region for Bell. “Today’s flight demonstrates our commitment to incorporating SAF into our customer-demonstration aircraft globally, supporting Textron’s Achieve 2025 Sustainable Footprint goal for 20 percent reduction in GHG emissions.”

Valerie Patuel, managing director of Safran Helicopter Engines Asia and CEO and country general delegate of Safran Singapore, added, “We strongly believe in SAF, as it contributes to significantly reducing CO2 emissions. As all our helicopter engines, the Arrius 2R is already certified to operate on up to 50 percent SAF, and we are fully ready to assist all Bell 505 operators worldwide in their transition from conventional fossil fuels to SAF. With our products, we are proud to play an active role in the development of decarbonization initiatives in Asia Pacific.”

Sami Jauhiainen, an executive with Neste, said, “The ambitious emissions-reduction goals of the aviation industry can only be achieved through wide-scale adoption and use of sustainable aviation fuel and cooperation across the stakeholders in the aviation ecosystem. With today’s demo flight, we showcase that SAF can safely and easily be used also for helicopter operations. I am also proud that this milestone was achieved in Singapore. With the expansion of our Singapore refinery nearing completion, and the ongoing modification of our Rotterdam refinery, we will be able to produce up to 1.5 million tons of SAF by the end of 2023, ready to support aviation globally and in the Asia-Pacific region.”

SAF delivers the performance of conventional jet fuel but with a significantly smaller carbon footprint on a lifecycle basis. Neste MY SAF is produced 100 percent from sustainably sourced, renewable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel is commercially available today and in use worldwide.

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