It almost seems like a well-established necessity these days – Gulf carriers sponsoring sporting events. From football clubs to golf tournaments to Formula 1 races, airline logos can be found everywhere. Gulf Air’s sponsorship of the Bahrain Grand Prix continues the trend- and as is customary with such sponsorships – the airline conducted a flyover at the season opener event, which took place on March 28th.
“[The Boeing 787-9s] boast superior fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, consuming 20% less fuel and producing around 20% fewer emissions than the aircraft they replaced in Gulf Air’s previous fleet. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ provides an immediate solution for reducing the carbon emissions of flying. In neat form and over the life cycle, its use results in up to 80%*lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel.” -Gulf Air
A “lower emission flypast”
Gulf Air announced via a March 28th statement that it would be conducting a “lower emission flypast” at the 2021 Formula 1 season opener at the Bahrain International Circuit. The reason for labeling it a “lower emission” is that this flypast was conducted with the more efficient twinjet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fueled by Neste-brand Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
While it would certainly consume more fuel than one of the carrier’s new narrowbodies, this label of being ‘low emission’ looks to be a point the airline wants to make in its marketing messaging. We’ll certainly grant them the fact that using a 787-9 to conduct a flyover would produce far fewer emissions than Etihad’s Airbus A380 flyovers made at Abu Dhabi Formula 1 races over the past few years.
Performing 787 flyovers as early as 2018
Gulf Air notes that it unveiled its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. It has essentially flown the Dreamliner at every Bahrain F1 Grand Prix event since then – with a flyover in April 2019, November 2020, and now March 2021.
2021 is different from years past in one special way, however. This year’s use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel makes a statement regarding the airline’s commitment to lowering its emissions and working towards a more sustainable future, as noted by the airline’s Acting CEO:
“Each year, Gulf Air takes great pride in being the title sponsor of the Formula 1 race at the Bahrain International Circuit. This year, we will mark the beginning of the race with a truly special low emission flypast highlighting our future strategy to explore the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in our aircraft and standing by our commitment to lower our carbon emissions.” -Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Gulf Air
Its initiatives like these that will hopefully set the standard for commercial aviation in terms of choosing fuel. A low-altitude flypast is an amazing sight to see – made better with the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
Have you been to an event where a commercial airline conducted a flyover? Please share your experience with us by leaving a comment.