UAE’s flag carrier Etihad Airways has operated its debut sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)-driven flight from Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT) in Japan.

ITOCHU Corporation supplied Neste’s MY SAF to the carrier, as a result of which Etihad became the first international carrier to procure SAF in Japan.

It is also the first time that a non-Japanese air carrier used SAF supplied in Japan.

Etihad Airways procurement and supply chain vice-president Cassie Mackie said: “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 is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and reducing our 2019 emissions by 50% by 2035.”

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The flight, which contained a 40% blend of SAF, was supplied as part of the first 50,000 gallons batch that will be used by the carrier in several flights over the coming weeks.

Etihad, which is part of Etihad Aviation Group PJSC, said that its maiden flight from Japan using SAF was able to cut CO₂ by nearly 75.2t, based on the estimated fuel volume at a blend of 39.66% SAF.

In a statement, ITOCHU said: “ITOCHU has already established a domestic SAF supply chain at Haneda and Narita International Airports, spanning from SAF import and quality control to delivery to airports, as well as a refuelling network for the aircraft themselves.

“ITOCHU plans to expand its SAF supply base to Central Japan International Airport (NGO) and Kansai International Airport (KIX), allowing it to further increase the supply of SAF to both Japanese and international airlines.”