Indonesia’s Garuda conducts test flight with palm oil-blended jet fuel

JAKARTA (Reuters) -Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia said on Tuesday it has completed a test flight using a palm oil-blended jet fuel on a Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.

The plane flew more than 130 km (80 miles) from the capital Jakarta to Pelabuhan Ratu in the southern part of Java island in a one-hour return flight last week, using jet fuel containing 2.4% palm content, Garuda Chief Executive Irfan Setiaputra said in a statement.

“With these results, Garuda Indonesia is ready to explore the use of sustainable aviation fuel on commercial flights,” Irfan said, adding that a wider use of the fuel would be based on a comprehensive study.

Prior to the test flight, Garuda had conducted a static test and engine ground tests since July.

The palm-oil blended jet fuel was produced by Indonesian state energy firm PT Pertamina at its Cilacap refinery, using hydroprocessed esters and fatty acid (HEFA) technology and is made of refined bleached deodorized palm kernel oil, said Pertamina’s CEO Nicke Widyawati in a statement.

“We hope that we could sell this for commercial flights as a milestone for Indonesia’s green energy development,” Nicke said, adding the fuel produced lower emission compared to fossil fuel.

Some countries, however, are concerned about deforestation required to produce palm oil and the European Union has imposed import restrictions on the commodity.

The world’s biggest palm oil producer, Indonesia has been pushing for wider use of edible oils and a reduction in crude oil imports.

In 2021, the country ran a test flight with the same fuel on an aircraft made by state-owned Dirgantara Indonesia, flying from the city Bandung in West Java to the capital Jakarta.

(Reporting by Stefanno Sulaiman, Bernadette Christina; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Susan Fenton)