Abu Dhabi, 30/11/2023 — Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) and a Leonardo AW139 helicopter conducted two flights powered by aviation fuel blended with SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) in Abu Dhabi on 28 and 30 November. These flights using SAF on an ADA commercial AW139 helicopter marked a first in the UAE and Middle East. This initiative and achievement demonstrate ADA and Leonardo Helicopters capability and active commitment in reducing the impact that aviation has on global carbon emissions.
In this context, Mr Nader Ahmed Al Hammadi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Aviation, affirmed that Abu Dhabi Aviation is keen on collaborating with its strategic partners to expedite carbon removal from the aviation sector, contribute to achieving the country’s climate targets, enhance fuel efficiency, and preserve it. He added, “We reaffirm ADA’s commitment to supporting the UAE’s efforts in the aviation sector to ensure sustainable growth and its adoption in the future.”
Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters’ MD, said “The SAF flights in the UAE performed by ADA’s AW139 have shown what’s possible in support of the rapid evolution of sustainability requirements in aviation. This technology can deliver real benefits in the region and widely across geographies, for all missions and can be readily available. We’re committed to joining forces with authorities, energy industry leaders and rotorcraft service providers to incentivise the use of SAF to sustain carbon footprint reduction.”
His Excellency Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority, stated that the civil aviation sector in the UAE is making significant strides towards enhancing the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and highlighted that the success of the first helicopter flight using SAF is an important step that supports the ongoing efforts towards reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. He added, “On the twenty-fourth of this month, at the conclusion of the third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels, which was hosted by the UAE, the world witnessed the launch of the Dubai Framework for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, which represents the beginning of the path towards a more sustainable future in aviation, aiming to achieve our ambitious goal of reaching zero emissions by 2050.»
ADA and Leonardo have been collaborating for over 15 years with the operator acquiring a total of 33 aircraft to date, most of which are AW139s. Recently, ADA set a 100,000 flight hour milestone with its Leonardo helicopter fleet. The ADA’s fleet of Leonardo Helicopters was extended to comprehensive localised support, maintenance, and overhaul services in the UAE around ten years ago with the establishment of the AgustaWestland Aviation Services Joint Venture and subsequent training and simulation capabilities.
The world’s most important helicopter programme since its certification in 2004 and the bestselling type in its category, the AW139 has logged orders for over 1,300 units from more than 290 operators in over 80 countries to date for all missions. The global AW139 fleet has nearly 4 million flight hours logged to date.
The type features state-of-the-art avionics with advanced navigation and collision avoidance systems to enhance situational awareness and reduce pilots’ workload, unmatched speed, power margins and overall performance, the widest cabin in its category featuring high modularity for rapid reconfiguration, a unique 60+ min run-dry capable main gear box for enhanced reliability and safety and up to 1,000 certified kits.
The Leonardo AW139 helicopter is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C engines that provide exceptional power capability with each engine producing 1,700 shaft horsepower (shp) thermodynamic. The AW139 is supported by advanced digital capabilities for maintenance and training, both in terms of fleet flight data management and simulation for pilots, cabin crews and technicians.