Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Qatar Airways today entered into a landmark agreement with key players across the aviation, fuel and educational sectors to power its aircraft with natural gas.
The revolutionary move would see Qatar Airways become the first commercial airline in the world to operate flights using gas-to-liquids kerosene fuel – seen as the technology of the future that will be environmentally friendly, helping to significantly reduce carbon emissions and reduce the impact on climate change.
A Letter of Intent was signed at the Dubai Air Show today to investigate fuel-related benefits of using Synthetic Jet Fuels to power aviation turbine engines.
Qatar Airways has been joined by Qatar Petroleum, Shell, Airbus, Rolls Royce, Qatar Science & Technology Park and Woqod (Qatar Fuel Company) for the intensive study to be carried out over the next few years.
During the ‘Working Together Agreement’ signing ceremony today, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker spoke of how the global spotlight was firmly on the most sensitive issue facing the world – that of the need to be more environmentally responsible.
“There is a huge movement lobbying for the reduction in carbon emissions to make for a cleaner and safer environment,” he said.
“The aviation industry has been at the centre of this highly topical debate. We as industry leaders gathered here at this press conference are committed to this cause and today’s move highlights how serious we take this important issue.
“Together with our partners, we will all work in close collaboration to study the use of synthetic jet fuels, or GTL kerosene in our drive towards a cleaner and safer world. And we at Qatar Airways look onward to becoming the first airline in the world to power commercial aircraft with natural gas.”
Qatar Airways currently operates one of the world’s youngest and fuel-efficient fleet of 58 all-Airbus aircraft, and was highly committed to the development of environmentally-friendly synthetic fuel for commercial aviation.
The consortium’s research will focus on the benefits of using GTL kerosene, with particular emphasis on improved air quality, fuel economy and reduced carbon emissions in an around airports and at cruising altitude.
Training and research will be carried out at the state-of-the-art facilities within the Qatar Science and Technology Park, a world-class education and research centre run under the auspices of Qatar Foundation.
Qatar Petroleum and Shell are currently building a multi-billion dollar, world class, fully integrated gas-to-liquids complex, which is set to transform the State of Qatar into the GTL capital of the world.
GTL kerosene will be an important component of the Pearl GTL project, intended to be marketed as a natural gas derived synthetic component for jet fuel.
Aircraft fuel currently accounts for as much as 40 per cent of an airline’s operating costs. With spiralling jet fuel prices, GTL kerosene is expected to significantly reduce carbon emissions, reduce fuel burn and improve aircraft operational efficiency.
Al Baker added: “Qatar Airways is already a major player in the International Air Transport Association’s ongoing fuel-saving campaign designed to reduce carbon emissions.”
He said Qatar Airways runs a department which specifically looks at ways to reduce fuel burn by eliminating unnecessary weight on aircraft, such as potable water, lighter inflight amenities and meal equipment.
Flight trials using gas-to-liquids fuel would be carried out following the intensive study and a worldwide industry approval of individual equipment manufacturers and regulators.
Qatar Airways is one of only five airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 12 million passengers. During the 2006/07 financial year, Qatar Airways carried more than 8 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Doha-based, Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, operating a modern fleet of 58 all-Airbus aircraft to 79 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Far East, Indian subcontinent and North America.
The airline will have a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2015 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 of the new generation Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter beginning later this month. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2009, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com