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Colorful Guizhou Airlines Operates China's First SAF-Powered Commercial Flight

Nov 29,2022

China's aviation industry could soon see the regular use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) for regular commercial flights, as Colorful Guizhou Airlines successfully completed a domestic flight powered by jet fuel blended with SAF. The use of blended fuels was part of the low-cost regional carrier's relatively new partnership with Airbus.

Colorful Guizhou Airlines flight GY 7164 is a daily scheduled domestic flight that starts from an evening departure from Ningbo Lishe International Airport before making a stopover in Zunyi Maotai Airport and subsequently arriving at Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport. The flight is typically operated by the airline's fleet of eight Airbus A320neos.

On November 23rd, GY 7164 was slightly more unique than usual, as a partial mix of SAF powered the passenger-carrying commercial flight. The Airbus A320neo operating the sustainable domestic flight was registered B-30DY, a nearly three-year-old narrowbody that was first delivered to Colorful Guizhou Airlines in March 2020 on lease from AerCap.
The 10% blended SAF used on GY 7164 was produced locally from used cooking oil by SINOPEC Zhenhai Refining & Chemical Corporation, a state-owned petrochemical manufacturer. The company was the first RSB-certified SAF production unit in Asia and is currently the only manufacturer to produce and supply SAF within China. Airbus also used the company's SAF for delivery flights from its Tianjin facility.
However, flight GY 7164 on November 23rd was more than just a domestic flight powered by a mix of SAF, as the flight also marked the first-ever SAF-powered passenger-carrying commercial flight to occur within the history of China's aviation industry. And while Colorful Guizhou Airlines operated the first commercial flight powered by SAF within China, the low-cost carrier certainly won't be the last anytime soon.
The budget carrier was one of three Chinese carriers that Airbus signed agreements with during the Airbus Press Conference at the just-concluded 14th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition. The other two were Xiamen Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines, and the deal was to jointly promote the use of SAF in passenger-carrying commercial flights in China.
Celebrating the milestone that GY 7164 set forth on November 23rd was Xu Gang, Executive Vice President of Airbus and CEO of Airbus China, as he highlighted: "2022 is a decisive year for Airbus China in terms of sustainable development. In October of this year, the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Center began to be used in delivery flights. SAF fuel, now we are thrilled to join hands with Colorful Guizhou Airlines to realize the first commercial flight of an Airbus aircraft using SAF fuel in mainland China."
Besides encouraging the joint use of SAF for commercial flight operations, the agreement between the three airlines and Airbus sought to further support the sustainable development of the Chinese aviation industry, in line with the country's 14th edition of the Five-Year Plan for the Green Development of Civil Aviation.
Issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the plan emphasizes the necessity for airlines to implement a low-carbon development strategy and continuously promote innovations concerning the commercial application of SAF. Another requirement is to achieve a SAF usage of at least 20,000 tons by 2025.
Xiamen Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines are scheduled to conduct their SAF-powered commercial flights soon, and Colorful Guizhou Airlines will likely start using SAF more shortly. Airbus is also showing its unrivaled support by offering Chinese carriers the option of having their delivery flights from Tianjin powered by blended fuel. Altogether, China's aviation industry seems to be on the right track to achieving the milestones laid out by the plan.

Souce from Simple Flying

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