‘Historic’: Hardeep Singh Puri on AIX Connect’s First Flight Using Sustainable Aviation Fuel

May 19, 2023

May 19—Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday announced the successful operation of the first domestic flight by AIX Connect (formerly known as AirAsia India) using India-produced sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The Delhi-bound flight i5-767 took off from Pune and was received at the airport by the petroleum minister.

The aircraft blended fuel with 1 percent of SAF to reduce the emissions produced by the aircraft.

Calling it a new chapter in SAF, Puri said, "Today, I received crew and passengers who took the first commercial passenger flight from Pune to Delhi powered by indigenously produced sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). We have started with 1% blending of SAF in one flight, which will be taken to 1% in all flights by mid-2025."

Tweeting pictures of the achievement, he wrote, "Historic step making aviation fuel from ethanol taking#FarmtoFlight! India takes a positive step towards a green & sustainable future under visionary leadership of PM Sh@narendramodi Ji. Proud to launch India's first domestic commercial flight on indigenous feedstock & SAF!"

Read — Climate change: How can we make flying greener?

Marking a milestone in the decarbonization of the aviation sector, the SAF was supplied by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) in partnership with Praj Industries Ltd. (Praj) using captive agricultural feedstock.

The efforts to make aviation more environment friendly is in tune with Atmanirbhar Bharat and India's commitment to Net Zero emissions by 2070. Puri added, "By 2025, if we target to blend 1% SAF blending in Jet fuel, India would require around 14 crore litres of SAF/annum. More ambitiously, if we target for 5% SAF blend, India requires around 70 crore litre of SAF/annum."

AirAsia India, which currently operates 19 domestic destinations, became a fully owned subsidiary of Tata Group last November.

Air India chief executive officer Campbell Wilson added, "It's a small but important step...toward realising our (and our industry's) goal of net-zero emissions by 2050."

On May 4, full-service carrier Vistara became the first Indian airline to operate a commercial domestic flight on a wide-body aircraft (Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner) using a blend of 17 per cent SAF with 83 per cent conventional jet fuel. The aircraft was flown from Delhi to Mumbai.


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