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Tuesday, October 13

World’s first commercial passenger flight powered by fuel made from natural gas lands in Qatar

Qatar Airways makes historic journey from London Gatwick to DohaNew Gas to Liquids fuel offers diversity of supply and better local air quality at busy airports.

A Qatar Airways aircraft this evening completed the world’s first commercial passenger flight powered by a fuel made from natural gas.The historic journey from London Gatwick to Doha took over six hours and was operated with an Airbus A340-600 aircraft using Rolls-Royce Trent 556 engines.

Shell developed and produced the 50-50 blend of synthetic Gas to Liquids (GTL) kerosene and conventional oil-based kerosene fuel. The State of Qatar is set to become the world’s leading producer of GTL kerosene when it is put into commercial production from 2012.

The fuel, as an alternative to conventional oil-based kerosene, will contribute to diversification of aviation fuel supply. It also burns with lower sulphur dioxide and particulate emissions than pure conventional oil-based kerosene, making it attractive for improving local air quality at busy airports. The blend of conventional kerosene and GTL kerosene will be known as GTL Jet Fuel.

The flight was the latest step in over two years of scientific work carried out by a consortium consisting of Airbus, Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Rolls-Royce, Shell and WOQOD into the benefits of using GTL Jet Fuel to power commercial aircraft.

Much of this work is being undertaken at the Qatar Science & Technology Park in Doha. “Qatar’s position as the GTL capital of the world has been further enhanced with today’s achievement. GTL technology enables us to produce liquid fuels and other products from natural gas.

Commercial aviation is one of the exciting new markets that this opens up, helping us maximise the value from our natural resources,” said His Excellency Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry of the State of Qatar.

A delegation of consortium members and international media was onboard flight QR076 for the milestone trip. Data from the GTL flight will be used by scientists in Qatar to further quantify GTL Jet Fuel use benefits.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who was onboard the flight, said: “Qatar Airways is proud to be associated with this consortium and to become the world’s first airline to use this new fuel technology on a commercial passenger flight.

“Once again, Qatar Airways has shown its commitment to the environment and we expect this alternative fuel to provide benefits, particularly the improvement of air quality.

This milestone flight is the first step in making this alternative fuel available to airlines.

Qatar Airways looks forward to continuing to work with the consortium members to further develop this exciting project and commit towards a cleaner environment.