In a first, India's budget passenger carrier SpiceJet on Monday successfully operated test flight partially powered by bio-fuel. 78-seater aircraft Bombardier Q400 aircraft, powered by a concoction of bio-fuel mixed with aviation turbine fuel (ATF), took off from Dehradun and landed at terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital. The flight was received by Union Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu along with Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan and others.
"Happy that SpiceJet is setting a precedent by exploring Bio Jetfuel-powered aerial operations using a blend of 75% of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) & 25% of Bio Jet fuel. This may reduce carbon emissions by over 15%. A 100% BioJet fuel usage will reduce 60-70% of carbon emission," Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet. The government will make an environment friendly aviation action plan till 2035, he added.
The fuel was developed by CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun. The biofuel used in the aircraft been made out of Jatropha crop. According to reports, there were around 20 people, including officials of SpiceJet and aviation regulator DGCA in the test flight which took around 25 minutes to Delhi from Dehradun.
"The advantage of using bio jet fuel as compared to conventional ATF is that it is lighter, environmentally sustainable, reduces carbon emissions and enhances the fuel efficiency," Prabhu said. It is considered to be a significant move as Indian airline sector has been reeling under the high ATF prices as fuel prices constitute 50-55 per cent of the overall operations cost of domestic airlines. ATF prices in India are one of the highest in the world.