Safran Helicopter Engines and ÖAMTC Air Rescue have agreed to cooperate in introducing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The engine manufacturer will support the Austrian HEMS operator in deploying SAF to its Arrius 2B2-powered Airbus H135 fleet. By summer 2022, the goal is that one HEMS helicopter will be ready to use 30 to 50% biofuel, in compliance with current Safran engines certification to use up to 50% SAF. Later, depending on the R&D results, the operator plans to introduce SAF at all its bases. In a second phase, the partners will look at using 100% SAF, as well as innovative fuels such as efuels.
ÖAMTC Air Rescue CEO Marco Trefanitz commented, “we are pleased to collaborate with Safran Helicopter Engines on introducting SAF and, in particular, to be the first to use it on a Arrius 2B2-powered fleet. SAF are key to reducing the carbon footprint of our fleet. Our long experience with the engine and the certified technicians at our maintenance centre, Helikopter Air Transport GmbH (HeliAir) will support this R&D activity. Another key factor will be the economics; right now the production of SAF is very costly and prices are high for the end user.”
Safran Helicopter Engines CEO Franck Saudo said, “this partnership is another important step in contributing to the development of SAF. We are particularly pleased to collaborate with ÖAMTC in introducing biofuel on an Arrius-powered fleet. The use of sustainable fuels by operators and at our sites contributes to reducing CO2 emissions over the entire life cycle of our products”.
The first flight of an ÖAMTC helicopter with SAF is planned for next year. Pilot and managing director Reinhard Kraxner added, “sustainability is one of the most important topics of our time. Especially for us – with public health as our core task. That’s why we are already planning for tomorrow by successively renewing our fleet and, at the same time, working with our partners on the widespread use of sustainable fuels.”
Safran is commited to assisting operators transition to SAF. Its engines are already certified to operate on up to 50% of these fuels. Last September, Safran conducted a ground test campaign of a Safran Makila 2 engine using 100% biofuel. Recently, an Airbus H225 flew with a Makila 2 engine powered with 100% biofuel. The use of 100% SAF enables to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%. In parallel and in order to reduce the carbon dioxyde emissions at its production facilities, Safran has deployed these fuels at its own engine test facilities starting at a rate of 10% which will increase to 50% by 2025.
With Helikopter Air Transport (HeliAir), the ÖAMTC Air Rescue Service has its very own maintenance facility with European aviation legislation approval at its bases in Innsbruck and Wiener Neustadt, a facility that enjoys an excellent reputation also at the international level. Helicopters and engines from all over Europe are serviced and maintained at Innsbruck and Wiener Neustadt. HeliAir also operates its own design and production facility, developing mission equipment for helicopters and compiling all the approval documents required by the European Aviation Authority. In all its areas of operation HeliAir has established quality standards that are on a par with the systems implemented by major airlines.