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Microflite collaboration fuels first Aussie SAF flight
Microflite's 10 year strategy is to transition its entire fleet to either SAF or electric-powered flight. This Australian-first demonstration use of SAF in a rotary wing aircraft was achieved with Airbus, Safran and Neste.
The helicopter landing at Moorabbin airport, Australia. Source: Airbus.

Microflite has operated Australia's first helicopter flights using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The company flew an Airbus H130 helicopter powered by a Safran Arriel 2D engine using a 40/60 blend of SAF supplied by Neste from Moorabbin airport near Melbourne, and is continuing to fly for a total of 60 minutes over the following few days.

“As a young and dynamic aviation company with a strong vision to lead excellence in sustainable aviation, we have a fleet of over 20 aircraft conducting passenger, aerial work, and emergency services operations," says COO Rodney Higgins. "Our 10 year strategy is to transition our entire fleet to either SAF or electrically powered flight. This Australian-first use of SAF in a rotary wing aircraft has been achieved through a collaboration with our valued industry partners, and Microflite is proud of the commitment from Airbus, Safran and Neste to join us in leading a sustainable aviation industry.”

SAF provides a more sustainable, renewable alternative to conventional, fossil based jet fuel. This flight using Neste MY SAF demonstrates that the fuel can significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of air travel.

The SAF demonstration flight launch at the Avalon Airshow was witnessed by minister of infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government the Hon Catherine King MP. She says: “Sustainable aviation fuels represent a tangible opportunity for the aviation sector to cut its emissions in the short to medium term, and it is encouraging to see that happening first hand. Our Jet Zero council will work with industry so that we can see more initiatives like this across Australia.”

“We are pleased to support Airbus, Safran and Microflite on this demonstration flight with the first-ever delivery of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to Australia,” says Neste vice president APAC, renewable aviation Sami Jauhiainen. “The fuel was delivered to Avalon with the support of our partner Itochu Corporation. With the expansion of our Singapore refinery starting operations at the end of the first quarter this year, we will be able to produce up to one million tons of SAF annually, ready to support the aviation industry with its emission reduction targets in the Asia Pacific region and globally.”

“The use of SAF is one of Airbus' levers to reduce carbon emissions, and we are proud to have achieved this milestone SAF flight with long-standing partners Safran and Microflite,” adds chief representative for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Stephen Forshaw. “This demonstration flight underscores Airbus' commitment to help our customers achieve more sustainable operations. It is an important step in our journey towards decarbonisation, as we join like-minded industry partners for a wider adoption of SAF in flights.”

“This is an important step in our roadmap for the large-scale deployment of SAF,” notes Safran Helicopter Engines Australia managing director Cedric Jochum. “Safran Helicopter Engines' turbine range is already certified to run on 50 per cent SAF, and our team is working to certify operations with 100 per cent SAF. When a 100 per cent incorporation level is achieved, SAF offers a reduction in CO2e emissions of up to 80 per cent.”

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