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The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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ADA AW139 makes first SAF flight in UAE
The first, and second, SAF-powered rotorcraft flight in the UAE and Middle East have been undertaken by Abu Dhabi Aviation’s AW139 commercial helicopter.
ADA accomplished two flights with a SAF-powered Leonardo AW139 helicopter in Abu Dhabi in November.
Read this story in our December 2023 printed issue.

Middle East-based rotary operator Abu Dhabi Aviation’s (ADA) AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopter has accomplished two flights powered by aviation fuel blended with SAF, one of which carried UAE dignitaries and industry representatives.

These flights using SAF on a commercial helicopter marked a first in the UAE and Middle East, and demonstrates ADA and Leonardo’s capability and active commitment to reducing the impact that aviation has on carbon emissions.

ADA chairman Nader Ahmed Al Hammadi affirmed that the company is keen on collaborating with its strategic partners to expedite carbon removal from the aviation sector, to contribute to achieving the country’s climate targets and to enhance and preserve fuel efficiency: “We reaffirm ADA’s commitment to supporting the UAE’s efforts in the aviation sector to ensure sustainable growth and its adoption in the future.”

Leonardo Helicopters MD Gian Piero Cutillo adds: “The SAF flights have shown what is possible in support of the rapid evolution of sustainability requirements in aviation. This technology can deliver real benefits in the region, widely across geographies for all missions, and can be readily available. We’re committed to joining forces with authorities, energy industry leaders and rotorcraft service providers to incentivise the use of SAF to sustain carbon footprint reduction.”

His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of the General CAA, says that the civil aviation sector in the UAE is making significant strides towards enhancing the use of SAF: “On the 24th of this month, at the conclusion of the third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels, which was hosted by the UAE, the world witnessed the launch of the Dubai Framework for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, which represents the beginning of the path towards a more sustainable future in aviation, aiming to achieve our ambitious goal of reaching zero emissions by 2050.”

ADA and Leonardo have been collaborating for over 15 years, with the operator acquiring a total of 33 aircraft to date, most of which are AW139s. Recently, ADA set a 100,000 flight hour milestone with its Leonardo helicopter fleet, which was extended to comprehensive localised support, maintenance and overhaul services in the UAE around 10 years ago with the establishment of the AgustaWestland Aviation Services joint venture and subsequent training and simulation capabilities.

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