New Delhi: Budget carrier SpiceJet today successfully operated “India’s first ever biojet fuel flight". A Bombardier Q400 aircraft, partially using biojet fuel, took off from Dehradun and landed at the airport in the national capital. The SpiceJet flight was powered with a blend of 75% air turbine fuel (ATF) and 25% biojet fuel, it said. SpiceJet in a statement said the advantage of using biojet fuel as compared to ATF is that it reduces carbon emissions and enhances fuel efficiency. Made from Jatropha crop, the fuel has been developed by the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun, SpiceJet said.
Around 20 people, including officials from aviation regulator DGCA and SpiceJet, were in the test flight. The duration of the flight was around 25 minutes, according to an airline executive.
SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said biojet fuel is low cost and helps in significantly reducing carbon emissions.
“It has the potential to reduce our dependence on traditional aviation fuel by up to 50% on every flight and bring down fares," he said.
The biojet fuel has been recognised by American Standard Testing Method (ASTM) and meets the specification standards of Pratt & Whitney and Bombardier for commercial application in aircraft.
The Q400 aircraft has 78 seats.
According to global airlines’ body IATA, aviation industry contributes to 2% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. IATA has also set out a target for one billion passengers to fly on aircraft using a mix of clean energy and fossil fuels by 2025, the release said.
SpiceJet has a fleet of 36 Boeing 737NG and 22 Bombardier Q400 planes. On an average, it operates 412 flights daily.
Today in the Indian aviation industry many executives are worried over the rising fuel costs and have demanded the government bring Aviation Turbine Fuel under GST.
Vistara’s chief strategy and commercial officer Sanjiv Kapoor said in a tweet said that aviation in India is not for the “weak-kneed" while expressing concern over the domestic aviation fuel rates.
“Domestic aviation fuel (ATF) rates ex-DEL are now 97% higher (ie almost double) the low it hit in Feb 2016, and less than 10% short of highest ever it hit in 2014. Average fares are however down at least 40% from 2014! Aviation in India not an industry for the weak-kneed," he said.