Air China 747-400. By Rob Finlayson

Air China (CA) conducted the latest biofuel demonstration flight Friday, operating a Boeing 747-400 with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines partially powered by jatropha-based fuel.

The 2-hr. flight to/from Beijing (PEK) was the first biofuel flight operated in China. It was conducted in conjunction with Boeing and Pratt, and follows a growing number of biofuel flights operated worldwide (ATW Daily News, April 26).

PetroChina worked with Honeywell's UOP to source and refine the fuel derived from jatropha grown in China. China National Aviation Fuel blended the biofuel with traditional jet fuel; the ratio was 50:50.

China's National Energy Administration (NEA) and Boeing also announced an agreement "for further study of regional biofuel development," Boeing said, adding, "The study results will help support future efforts to establish a sustainable aviation biofuels industry in China, and also form the foundation for an announced renewable energy agreement between the US Trade and Development Agency and the NEA."

CA and Boeing said they are making plans for an international biofuel flight between the US and China, although “no specific timetable” has been revealed.

Iberia earlier this month operated an Airbus A320 partially powered by biofuel from Madrid to Barcelona (ATW Daily News, Oct. 13). Lufthansa has started a six-month biofuel trial on regularly scheduled A321 flights on its 8X-daily Hamburg-Frankfurt route (ATW Daily News, July 19). KLM Royal Dutch Airlines launched regular commercial service between Amsterdam and Paris using biofuel made with used cooking oil and between Paris and Toulouse (ATW Daily News, July 15).