The world's largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, has become the first commercial plane to fly on "green" liquid fuel made from natural gas, rather than crude oil.
The super-plane, taller than five double decker buses and the width of a football pitch, took off from the UK to France using a synthetic fuel, developed using Gas to Liquid (GTL) technology.
The plane, which seats 555 passengers, left Airbus' UK headquarters in Filton, Bristol at 11.30am on Friday morning for a three-hour test flight to Toulouse.
Sjoerd Post, vice president of Shell Aviation, which developed the fuel, said that he hoped the plane would eventually run on even greener bio-fuels made from sustainable plant matter.
But according to projections released by Airbus today that would be by 2020 at the earliest.
Mr Post said: "After more than 30 years of development and a decade of operations, we are now building, together with Qatar Petroleum, the world scale Pearl GTL plant in Qatar.
"In our drive for cleaner fuels, GTL technology can help reduce local emissions and encourage sustainable mobility."
Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders said: "Our alternative fuels roadmap requires innovation, diversity of ideas and options that needs to be explored."This takes bold cross-industry and cross-border collaboration. That's what we are showing today with our groundbreaking first test flight with alternative fuels. It is part and parcel of Airbus' commitment to providing leadership as an eco-efficient enterprise."
Sebastien Remy, head of Airbus's alternative fuels programme said: "The age of easy energy is over." He said GTL was better than traditional kerosene jet fuel because it did not deplete the world's oil supply, produced less emissions of local pollutants like carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, and was virtually free of sulphur.