Wife didn’t want me on sustainable aviation fuel test flight, says Abang Johari

A file picture of an Airbus A220 aircraft using sustainable aviation fuel at Lima 23. – Bernama

KUCHING: Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has shared how he went against his wife's wish not to fly on an autonomous aircraft powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from here to Langkawi recently.

According to him, his wife Puan Sri Juma'ani Tuanku Bujang tried to dissuade him from getting on the test flight using an Airbus aircraft using SAF produced from microalgae that was still on trial production.

"Of course, my wife discouraged from going and told me that I would never know what would happen. But on that, I leave it to God," he said when launching the International Green Energy Symposium and Exhibition 2023 here.

Abang Johari said the flight gave him an opportunity to see the plane's flight deck, where he was astounded to find that there was no device to manually manoeuvre the latest generation of Airbus aircraft.

"Nothing. It was all done with a button. The plane took off on its own... meaning it was autonomous. It also landed itself," he said

Abang Johari said he then asked the pilots how they would deal with an emergency situation.

"They said it would be taken over by another system in the aircraft. Then the aircraft would be safe... You will be safe," he said.

According to him, the aircraft manoeuvred autonomously passing other aircraft after being given priority landing in Langkawi, where he was involved in the signing of several memorandum of understanding held in conjunction with the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima '23).

Abang Johari said the experience led him to think that SAF and the development of autonomous flight would be game-changers in the aviation industry to which Sarawak could play a major part.

He said the abundance of natural resources in Sarawak could be utilised to generate the production of green energy, where the state had been successful in the production of solar and hydroelectric power, with wind power and microalgae following suit.

"The latest to produce energy (fuel) for planes is microalgae. Through the utilisation of this technology and digital solutions to produce hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuel and many more, I think we can find alternative solutions to the question of (finding new sources of) energy," he added. – Bernama

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