With an aim to encourage cleaner and sustainable alternative fuels for aviation sector, India successfully operated Biofuel powered commercial aircraft on Monday.
The test flight of SpiceJet, an economical airline company, departed from Dehradun on a flight to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. There were 23 passengers and five crew members in the plane. In one of its engines, bio-plane fuel was used. This aircraft fuel has been prepared by the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun.
After landing of the aircraft, addressing reporters at Terminal two, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said this was just a beginning. ”In the coming days, there is a need to increase production for mass use of bio jet fuel,” he said.
Taking to Twitter, Mr Prabhu wrote,” Flagged off the maiden Bio-Fuel flight by SpiceJet this morning with Jayant Sinha, MoS, Civil Aviation, Petrolem Minister Dharmendra Pradhan,Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Science & Technology, Environment, Forest & Climate Change Dr Harshvardhan.”
He also wrote ”Happy that SpiceJet is setting a precedent by exploring Bio Jetfuel-powered aerial operations using a blend of 75 per cent of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and 25 per cent of Bio Jet fuel.”
This may reduce carbon emissions by over 15 per cent while 100 per cent BioJet fuel usage will reduce 60-70 per cent of carbon emission, Mr Prabhu said. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha also congratulated ”Team Petroleum Minister, DGCA for this initiative towards encouraging cleaner and sustainable alternative fuels for aviation sector”.
India will be among few selected countries who have Biofuel operated commercial aircraft, he said in a tweet. ”Was there today with Mr Suresh Prabhu ji, Mr Nitin Gadkari ji, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan and Dr Harshvardhan ji to receive India’s first test flight powered by Biofuel and operated by SpiceJet which landed at Delhi airport successfully,” he said in another tweet.
India’s ATF prices are amongst the highest in the world due to the addition of state levies and taxes. The fuel is not under the GST ambit unlike the bunker fuel used in the shipping industry.
Besides, the success of the flight will pave the way for further testing and aide in fulfilling the central government’s move to curtail India’s dependence on crude oil imports.