Wife was against me flying on SAF test aircraft, says Abang Johari

07 Jun 2023 03:33pm
Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg - BERNAMA
Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg - BERNAMA

KUCHING - Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg today shared how he went against his wife Puan Sri Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang’s wish by flying on an autonomous aircraft powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from here to Langkawi recently.

According to him, Juma’ani had tried to persuade him not to proceed with the test flight using the Airbus aircraft which used SAF produced from microalgae that was still on trial production.

"Of course, my wife discouraged me to go and told me that you (Abang Johari) never know what is going to happen. But that one (whatever happens), I leave it to God,” he said when launching the International Green Energy Symposium and Exhibition 2023 here.

According to him, the flight offered him the opportunity to check the aircraft’s flight deck, where he was astounded to find that there was no device to manually manouvere the latest generation of Airbus aircraft.

"Nothing. All was done on a (switch of a) button. The plane took off on its own... meaning autonomous. (The aircraft) landing was also on its own,” he said

On seeing this, Abang Johari had asked the pilots on how they would deal with a situation when something would go wrong with the aircraft.

"They (the pilots) 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 manouvered autonomously passing other aircraft after being given priority landing in Langkawi, where he was involved in several memorandum of understanding signing ceremonies held in conjunction with the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima ’23) then.

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Abang Johari said the experience that he had gone through in the flight had 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