New Delhi, Aug 27: Budget carrier SpiceJet today successfully operated "India's first ever biojet fuel flight". Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Suresh Prabhu and other top officials were at the airport when the SpiceJet flight, which took off in Dehradun, arrived in the capital.
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.
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.
India joins the elite club
With this India on Monday joined the elite club of nations who have operated a flight on alternative energy source like biofuel. While developed countries like Canada, Australia and US have already conducted these test flights, India would be the first developing nation to experiment that.
Respite for airlines
The objective is to make air travel economical and bring some respite to the airlines reeling under high fuel price through the use of alternate fuel, insiders in the aviation industry said. Aviation leaders are a worried lot over the rising fuel costs and have demanded the government bring Aviation Turbine Fuel under GST.
Reduces carbon emission
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.
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.