Atlas Air Partners with Fuel Supplier on Sustainable Aviation Fuel Test Flight from Spain’s Zaragoza Airport

Dec. 23, 2020

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. announced the completion of a transoceanic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) test flight that originated at Spain’s Zaragoza Airport. 

Atlas Air Flight 562 was powered by a blend of fuel containing 2.33% SAF sourced from fresh vegetable oil. The Boeing 747-400F left Zaragoza on Dec. 21 and arrived in Mexico City. This is believed to be the first transoceanic commercial cargo flight in Spain to include a blend of SAF and Jet A-1 fuel. Using life cycle analysis, SAF has been shown to reduce carbon emissions by up to 80%. The flight’s cargo included a shipment of goods from an Atlas customer. 

“Innovative sustainable aviation fuel test projects demonstrate our ability to partner with our customers and suppliers to help create a more sustainable future for the air cargo industry and global commerce,” said John W. Dietrich, president and chief executive officer of Atlas Air Worldwide. “Through ongoing meaningful partnerships, we will drive wider acceptance and availability of SAF, which will lower costs and have a positive impact on our industry and the environment.” 

The blend of fuel was transported from Madrid to Zaragoza. Atlas Air partnered with Exolum, a subsidiary of CLH Group, and utilized its Avikor platform to implement the trial. Given the adaptable nature of SAF, no additional adjustments to fuel or engine components were necessary. The final blend was certified according to DEF STAND 91/091, with the SAF component certified for sustainability in accordance with International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) guidelines.  

“One of the main targets of Avikor is to promote universally a more sustainable way to fly, offering both individuals and enterprises the possibility of using sustainable aircraft fuel which reduces fuel emissions during flights and helps to improve our planet responsibly, without sacrificing the convenience of flying,” said Andrés Suarez, global strategy and innovation lead of Grupo CLH and CEO of Exolum. 

In line with industry guidelines and best practices, Atlas is deeply committed to environmental stewardship through the reduction of aircraft emissions and resource consumption. Atlas has promoted sustainability by continuously driving operational efficiency and recognizes that the development of sustainable aviation fuels must be accelerated if the industry is going to meet its long-term environmental goals. Atlas is working with partners across the globe to ensure the safety and environmental benefits of SAF and to further its commercial viability.