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Vistara becomes 1st Indian airline to operate wide-body aircraft on long-haul route using SAF


Photo: Vistara

Indian airline Vistara, a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, became India’s first carrier to operate a wide-body aircraft using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on a long-haul route March 30.


The groundbreaking ferry flight from Charleston International Airport, South Carolina, to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, was operated in partnership with Boeing and GE Aerospace, on Vistara’s newest GEnx-powered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, the fourth in its fleet.


By using a blend of 30 percent SAF with 70 percent conventional jet fuel, Vistara was able to reduce approximately 150,000 pounds of CO2 emissions over the fuel’s lifecycle.


“We take immense pride in carrying out another pioneering initiative to operate a wide-body aircraft on a long-haul route using SAF, as we took delivery of our all-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner,” said Vinod Kannan, CEO of Vistara. “This is an important milestone in our commitment towards achieving carbon neutrality. We thank our partners, Boeing and GE Aerospace, for their support and hope that initiatives such as this, open up more avenues for the industry to increasingly adopt sustainable technologies. Since the very beginning, Vistara had decided to invest in modern and advanced new aircraft with fuel-efficient engines, and we remain committed towards reducing carbon emissions across all areas of our operations.”


Salil Gupte, president of Boeing India, added, “We congratulate Vistara on the significant achievement of becoming the first Indian airline to operate a wide-body aircraft, the Boeing 787-9, on a long-haul route using SAF. This is a major milestone in the Indian aviation industry’s journey towards decarbonization, and we are proud to have been a partner in this endeavor. Boeing remains committed to working with Vistara and other partners to promote the use of SAF in the Indian aviation industry and around the world, in support of our collective goal of achieving a sustainable future for air travel.”


Vikram Rai, country head of South Asia and Indonesia for GE Aerospace, said, “GE Aerospace congratulates Vistara on this milestone. The GEnx engine, like all GE Aerospace engines, can operate on approved SAF blends today. Compatibility with existing aircraft engines is one of the reasons SAF is critical to helping the aviation industry reach its goal to be net zero by 2050 and collaborations like this encouraging greater adoption of SAF globally helps bring us closer to this target. The GEnx is also up to 15 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor, helping reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in flight in addition to the benefits of SAF.”


SAF is a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to conventional jet fuel, lowering carbon emissions by up to 80 percent over the fuel’s lifecycle, depending on the feedstock.


The airline is currently working under the TATA Aviation Sustainability Working Group along with the other aviation arms of the TATA group for reducing carbon emissions.


Vistara, along with other airline companies of the Tata group (Air India and Air Asia India) recently signed an MOU with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Petroleum to collaborate on the research, development and deployment of SAF.


The airline would also be jointly working through the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation to lower CO2 emissions for international flights and to curb the industry’s impact on climate change.

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