Making history, AirAsia India, Praj and IOCL join hands to fly first commercial flight in India
India, 20th May 2023: In a significant development in the decarbonization of the aviation sector, India’s first commercial passenger flight using an indigenously produced Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) blend was successfully flown earlier today. AirAsia India flight i5-767 departed from Pune to New Delhi using a blend of indigenous Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) supplied by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) in partnership with Praj Industries Ltd. (Praj). Hon. Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, received this special flight at the airport.
This flight is a significant milestone in the country’s efforts towards sustainable aviation and demonstrates the commitment of the Air India group, IOCL, and Praj Industries, with the support and guidance of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, to develop and propagate indigenous solutions to mitigate the environmental impact of aviation and pave the way for the widespread adoption of SAF in India. In keeping with the country’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan mission, the SAF was produced indigenously by Praj Industries using captive agricultural feedstock.
The SAF sourced for this initiative by Praj Industries, is in partnership with Gevo Inc., which has developed a breakthrough Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) technology for the production of SAF using bio-based feedstock. Praj produced SAF samples in its R&D facility, Praj Matrix, which underwent detailed testing at IOCL laboratories before it was blended for the special flight.
Describing the occasion as a significant milestone in the country’s efforts towards Net Zero emissions by 2070, Mr. Puri said, “I am glad to witness this historic occasion and receive the first commercial flight fuelled by an indigenous SAF blended ATF. This would be the First domestic commercial passenger flight with SAF blending up to 1% as demonstration mode”. “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.”
Congratulating the home grown giants in their respective sectors, AirAsia India, IndianOil, and Praj Industries, Shri Puri reiterated the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister for an Atmanirbhar Bharat by developing indigenous solutions to mitigate the environmental impact of aviation and pave the way for the widespread adoption of SAF in India.
Speaking about the initiative, Mr. Aloke Singh, Managing Director, AirAsia India and Air India Express, said, “We are proud to announce that AirAsia India has successfully completed the first commercial flight using a blend of sustainable aviation fuel in collaboration with IOCL and Praj Industries. As part of the Tata group and a subsidiary of Air India, we are committed to innovation and collaboration in order to mitigate environmental impact. This flight marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts towards a more sustainable future for Indian aviation. We hope that this initiative will serve to further the adoption of indigenous, sustainable aviation fuel. Sustainability is deeply ingrained in our organisation’s DNA, and we are determined to continue on the path towards more sustainable operations.”
Speaking on this development, Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Founder Chairman, Praj Industries, said, “Showcasing the capability to fly using locally produced SAF is a historic moment for India. This is another demonstration of the important role of the farming community, by way of Annadata to Urjadata, in India’s journey towards energy independence and green growth. We value our ongoing partnership with IOCL and are delighted that, on this occasion, AirAsia has joined us in the journey towards cleaner skies for tomorrow.“
Mr. Vaidya, Chairman, IndianOil, stated, “As the largest energy PSU in the country, IndianOil is committed to leading the change in the oil & gas sector and ushering in a greener tomorrow.” “Aligned with the vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister, IndianOil has pledged for Net Zero Emissions by 2046. Under the aegis of MoPNG, we have begun this journey today, and I am confident that SAF will soon become the norm rather than an exception in the aviation industry. Mr. Vaidya added.
Global aviation is currently responsible for about 3% of total global GHG emissions. If the emission remains unchecked, it could be responsible for 22% of GHG emissions by 2050. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has released Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) regulations that have defined a target of reducing CO2 emissions from the aviation sector by 50% by 2050. An alternative to the current use of fossil fuels is to use SAF that can result in high greenhouse gas (GHG) savings.