Airbus has started the flight test campaign of the A400M military transport aircraft with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The campaign is being executed by the company’s A400M programme team in collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space division’s Military Air Systems unit.

The first test under this campaign was performed at the company’s San Pablo facility in Seville in July.

The aircraft travelled more than an hour towards the north of Huelva and safely returned to Seville.

Airbus said that the maiden test was successful and involved using a blended load of 29% SAF in one of the aircraft’s engines.

Limiting the use of SAF to one engine allowed the team to analyse the behaviour of the fuel system.

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Airbus Defence and Space flight test engineer César González said: “During the flight, we performed a close comparison between engine number-2, one using SAF, and the other three engines using standard fuel Jet A1, so we had a very good opportunity to compare the performance of different fuels.

“The results we got confirmed that using this blended SAF does not affect engines or aircraft performance, so the A400M can receive the whole potential of it in terms of environmental benefit.”

The test further validated that the new fuel, which is a blend of 50% certified SAF, is compatible with A400M aircraft and its TP400-D6 engines.

Expected to be a proven alternative fuel, SAF can minimise carbon dioxide emissions by up to 85%, in comparison to traditional fuel.

Airbus will now establish a roadmap to achieve 100% SAF certification and readiness for A400M aircraft for a more sustainable military aviation.

The company has also received approval from EuroProp International, a company responsible for the TP400-D6 engine’s design, development and manufacturing.