Qatar Airways looks at natural gas for future flight

Qatar Airways is not far away from becoming the first airline in the world to fly its airplanes using natural gas, according to its senior executive. Qatar Gas, Shell and Qatar Airways are currently talking to each other to finalise a plan for flying an aircraft on natural gas. They may announce further details during the Dubai Air Show next month.

Qatar Airways A340

Ali M Al Rais, Qatar Airway’s general manager-commercial said:

Ours would be the first carrier in the world to use this technology. Engineers and scientists are working tirelessly to make this happen and it will happen.The experiments are taking place in the labs. It is not something that we would say is impossible to do.

He said that the two bodies Shell and Qatar Gas are spearheading the whole project are currently in talks with engine makers such as Rolls Royce and General Electrics to develop an engine for the aircraft that would run on natural gas.

Confirming this, Rolls Royce’s spokesperson told Emirates Today in a telephone interview from London:

Biofuel technology for aircraft is a part of the alternative project being run by Rolls-Royce. We are talking to a lot of airlines regarding alternative fuel. Though there is no formal agreement in place with Qatar Airways there may have been talks.

When asked about how much savings Qatar Airways would be able to make with the natural gas, Al Rais said:

Savings would be significant. I cannot say how much, but most engineers are of the view that it would make a big difference to the airline’s costs. Environmentally also it would make a lot of sense. But if fuel is expensive, gas is not getting cheaper either. These are some of the technologies people are looking at worldwide, the other one being electrical planes. But that is far from where we are today.

Source: Emirates Today via The Age

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