SDG Airlines is a sandbox at the service of new technologies: an isolated testing environment that enables developers of new products or services to test their projects in the air-cargo logistics sector without affecting the operations, equipment, or installations on which they run. we cooperate with many companies. Our main goal is to make our flights more sustainable but without losing the quality of our services.

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New fuels

A jet engine burns a huge fuel quantity. To calculate how much is consumed during a flight, the distance traveled by plane must be considered. Short distances have higher fuel consumption because 1/3 of the fuel is burned during take-off. On long flights, on the other hand, the proportion drops to 1/8.

For example, a plane on a route of 6 thousand km consumes more than 63,000 liters of kerosene, an average of 19 liters per nautical mile (1.8 km). Flying with a much less polluting fuel that cuts emissions is possible. There are many solutions that are in development or that are even ready to use and SDG Airlines is committed to using these technologies.

The most valid solution for the moment is to use a jet fuel commonly known as "SAF". These types of fuels for sustainable aviation are produced from biomass or recycled carbon. These blends meet stringent sustainability standards regarding land, water and energy use. The main advantage of SAF is a reduction in CO2 emissions. Sustainable aviation fuel can see up to 90% reduction in particulate matter (PM) and up to 100% reduction in sulfur (SOX). SAF can also provide a marginal increase in fuel efficiency. As you'd expect, SAF is more expensive to produce than conventional jet fuel. The second drawback of SAF is availability. Of course, SAF cannot be stored in the same tanks as aircraft fuel and for this motivation, many airports don't have SAF.

When it comes to alternative fuels, however, the main challenge is hydrogen. Its advantage is that the process has only one waste product: water. However, its use requires, among other things, the partial re-engineering of the aircraft. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) argues in a study that, from 2035, this fuel could be the norm for flights up to 3,400 km. However, there are problems to overcome: given that liquid hydrogen, which must be stored at temperatures below - 253 ° C, has a much lower energy density per unit volume than conventional jet fuel, fuel costs they would increase considerably. The ICCT study calculates that "blue" liquid hydrogen, ie produced with CO2 recovery, would be the most expensive, followed by electric kerosene and "green" liquid hydrogen (produced with clean electricity from renewable sources).

Many companies are sceptical of using electric motors in large planes to fly longer routes. This is because they would need light batteries with enough power for take-off. All of this seems difficult to achieve at the moment. Furthermore, in order to reduce emissions, the energy of the battery packs should be "green". For the moment, the main projects are limited to small aircraft for short distances. However, the use of energy is reflected in some projects that use hybrid systems.

SDG Airlines and Energy Services ( are working together in SEP (Sustainable Energy for Planes), the next generation aviation energy, made from 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials, like used cooking oil. Over the lifecycle, SEP reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 90% compared to fossil jet fuel. SEP can be used as a direct replacement (drop-in) for fossil jet fuel as it is chemically similar. It is fully compatible with existing jet engines and fueling infrastructure, requiring zero additional investment into them.

Replacing crude oil with renewable raw materials in the production of fuels helps combat climate change through preventing significant amounts of fossil-based greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.

New aircraft engines

SDG Airlines is active in the use of new technologies and to do this we need the development of new projects which increase the efficiency of our services. We collaborate and finance with many companies and start-ups that design efficient and sustainable engines. We are developing projects that use hydrogen and energy to power the engine and we are committed to introducing them to our fleet by 2030.

Our fleet mainly mounts the normal and common "turbofan" engines that work by exploiting the Brayton-Joule cycle according to the third principle of dynamics. In short, the engine burns a certain amount of compressed air and fuel mixture (kerosene) generating the necessary thrust through the escape of air at a very high speed. Air is sucked in from a front air intake and compressed through a multi-stage compressor that takes it to the combustion chamber. The flow of gases expelled from the combustion chamber causes the turbines to rotate at high speed, which is in turn connected to the large front fan.

One of the concepts is a turbofan project with a range of 2000 nautical miles, therefore able to operate intercontinental. Liquid hydrogen will be stored and distributed through tanks located behind a pressurized rear bulkhead.

The second design, a turboprop, also has a similar storage system but is equipped with two turboprop engines. It would be able to travel more than 1000 nautical miles each way, making it perfect for short-haul flights.

The prototype with the most eccentric lines is the blended-wing body, in which the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft in a very wide fuselage that offers many options for the storage and distribution of hydrogen and the layout of the cabin. In this case, the tanks are placed under the wings and it has two turbofans.

A significant part of the work will be dedicated to the distribution system, which will allow the passage of liquid hydrogen, stored in the tanks at -253 ° C, in the gaseous state for injection into the engine. Specific pumps and circuits will have to be developed to ensure the distribution of this new fuel.

Airfreight automation & digitalization

Airport operators are now on the lookout for solutions that will boost their overall efficiency while still being fast and flexible to implement.

We’re in an ideal position here with our portfolio of high-performance hardware and intelligent, cloud-based software combined with our international presence.

It enables us to offer targeted support to our customers as their businesses continue to recover strongly.

SDG Airlines Logistics is a major airport logistics provider for baggage and freight handling as well as integrated airport digitalization solutions.

Our portfolio features world firsts such as the "SDGBeltPlus" belt conveyor, the automated ULD unloader "SDGTip", and the versatile "SDGLogie360" airport operations software.

Our hub serves as an innovation space, which aims to foster a creative environment for the development of new technology to be rolled out across its global network. There are already a number of new solutions being put in place, such as SDG’s new robot.

Developed by our partners, the autonomous robot tracks goods at every stage of the warehouse process, enhancing inventory management and slot utilization.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Today artificial intelligence (AI) finds more and more space in almost every sector. In the field of transport, perhaps it plays an even more important role, making operations faster and more efficient. The use of these advanced systems brings numerous benefits starting from considerable economic savings to efficient and productive choices. Suffice it to say that AI is widely used in choosing the best routes or to make warehouse operations quick and easy. SDG Airlines is committed to developing systems that make air cargo operations safer and more efficient. The latest project developed is: "SDGCargo Analyzer's AI".

"SDGCargo Analyzer's AI" scanning system offers the air cargo industry a speedy way of recording the dimensions of cargo with black plastic surfaces. Its advanced machine-learning scanning system achieved industry-leading speeds.

Using scales, cameras, and 3D scanners, "SDGCargo Analyzer's AI" machine-learning software allows customers to optimize the speed of freight dimensioning with instantaneous, accurate scans of parcels and pallets. Measurements can be triggered with a weight sensor, a barcode scan, or a single click of a button.

Black plastic surfaces have long posed a challenge for cargo-industry freight scanners. Laser scanners, in particular, require a long time to complete dimensioning. Modern laser scanners must be mechanically articulated to reliably scan all sides of cargo with black plastic surfaces. This common, reflective surface can cause errors and slowdown, particularly when coupled with odd sizes and protrusions.

Airplane communication systems

The aircraft communication system is used for communications by voice but also for data communications.

The communication system in aircraft is used for communication between the crew members and between crew members and ground personnel. It is also used to communicate with passengers, other aircraft, and ground stations (both speech and data).

Aircraft communications systems comprise the following:

  • Radio Communication

  • HF systems (For long-distance voice communications)

  • VHF systems (For short-range voice communications)

  • Radio Management Panels

  • SELCAL systems (For selective calling using HF and VHF)

  • SATCOM systems (For satellite communication)

  • ACARS (For datalink communication)

  • Interphone Communication

  • Flight Interphone System (For internal cockpit communication and also with ground mechanics)

  • Cabin Interphone System (For cabin crew or cabin crew/pilots communications)

  • Service Interphone System (On-ground only, for maintenance personnel only)

  • Ground Crew Call System (To tell the ground crew or flight crew there is a call)

The system must make sure the pilots and crew can effectively communicate with the ground, receive weather reports, alerts and navigation updates. This is critical to the safety of our global airspace and requires a robust, reliable and global communications network to make it happen. It is this type of vital communication link that enables global aviation.

SDG Airlines aircraft are using Iridium SATCOM to stay connected and safe, communicate with the ground, and each other and even fly autonomously with Iridium’s Global Line of Sight® service. In the global airspace of today not only are there more aircraft in general, but there is more diversity among the types of aircraft sharing the skies. Today there are business jets, commercial aircraft, helicopters, military aircraft and even unmanned aircraft (NATILIUS model), all traveling in close proximity, requiring a level of communication and precision that SATCOM can enable. Alongside this increase in air traffic and diversity comes an ever-increasing demand for data and coverage, raising the stakes for communications and avionics technology providers, and shining a spotlight on the important and unique role Iridium plays in connecting the skies.

The (HF) high-frequency communication system supplies voice communication over long distances. It gives communication between airplanes or between ground stations and airplanes. The HF system operates in the aeronautical frequency range of 2 MHz to 29.999 MHz. The system uses the surface of the earth and an ionized layer to cause a reflection (skip) of the communication signal. The distance between skips changes due to the time of day, radio frequency, and airplane altitude.

VHF radio transmission is the most common system for short to medium-range communication. It can be used to communicate between airplanes and between airplanes and ground stations. The VHF communication radio is tunable in the frequency range of 118.000 MHz to 136.990 MHz. The VHF radio is used to transmit and receive voice communication.

Satellite Communications (SATCOM) system uses similar technology to GPS. The SATCOM system transmits and receives data and voice messages. The system uses satellites as relay stations for long distances. SATCOM is more reliable than the HF communication system because atmospheric interference does not have an effect on it.

The aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) is a datalink communication system. It lets you transmit messages and reports between an aircraft and an airline ground station. "Downlink" aircraft to the ground station. "Uplink" ground station to the aircraft. ACARS automatically sends reports when necessary and at scheduled times of the flight to reduce crew workload.

The audio management system provides the means for using:

  • All the radio communication and radio navigation facilities installed on the aircraft:

  • In transmission mode: it collects the microphone inputs of the various crew stations and directs them to the communication systems.

  • In reception mode: it collects the audio outputs of the communication systems and the navigation receivers and directs them to the various crew stations.

  • SELCAL system:

Visual and aural indication of calls from ground stations equipped with a coding device used by the aircraft installation.

  • Flight interphone system:

Telephone links between the various crew stations in the cockpit.

Telephone links between the cockpit and the ground crew from the external power receptacle.

  • Certain calls: Visual and aural indication of the ground crew and the Cabin Attendants’ calls.


Blockchain has been identified as one of the technologies that may have a major impact on the future of aviation.

Blockchain is showing to have the potential comparable to the beginning of Internet with a disruptive impact as it gains more maturity. The promise of Blockchain is to enable the exchange of value across digital channels without friction. The approach we have taken, is to start with the needs of customers, address the pain points and opportunities to create more value.

Blockchain comes with tangible benefits, however, in order to leverage its benefits, the approach from the outset should be a solution driven discovery, investigation and implementation, while maintaining an open mindset about alternative solutions throughout the entire process. Additionally, there are many design options related to the type of, and configuration of Blockchain that need to be carefully considered and compared. The recommended approach is to include Blockchain as one of the alternative solutions to be considered.

SDG Airlines has focused the developments with Blockchain in Air Smart Contracts field. The commercial aviation value chain involves many entities (e.g. aircraft manufacturers, airports, ground handlers, and other industry suppliers) who depend on each other for products and services to serve the customers. The Blockchain technology is suitable to streamline the procure-to-pay process through the use of Smart Contracts.

You can use blockchain for use cases where multiple parties need to transact and share data in a decentralized manner without a centralized, trusted authority. SDG Airlines, in close collaboration with AWS is developing solutions based in blockchain to deploy smart contracts.

The Large Cargo Door

Large Cargo Door (“LCD”):

Key attributes are:

2.94m x 1.8m (116″ x 71″) door is a 272% larger door opening compared to standard door of 1.27m x 1.53m (50″ x 60″) door;

110°door opening with a 1.05m sill height (41″);

Hydraulically actuated door (extremely reliable, with no in service issues since the very first aircraft converted);

9g forward net cargo barrier: cargo hold safety system;

Integrated auxiliary door to allow crew access on loaded aircraft;

With an LCD conversion:

  • the standard ATR front cargo door is removed;

  • significant portions of frames 14 to 20 are removed;

  • surrounding area of these frames are significantly reinforced;

  • allows the installation of the new much larger Large Cargo Door (“LCD”);

  • wide cross section of the tube conversion together with the new LCD – makes the ATR 72 the premier feeder aircraft for freight operators;

  • integrated solution in the 5 – 9 tons market;

  • complements larger B 737 / A 321 cargo aircraft operations;

  • The new LCD door is operated by an integrated hydraulic system;

  • The new LCD door allows you loading of large, oversized single piece cargo often carried by Oil Gas, Mining and Automotive industries.

LCD conversion generally selected when a fully “palletized” operation is needed;

STTB conversion selected if pallets or oversized cargo and containers are not required

(one can see the clear advantage and difference in the LCD compared to the original OEM door to the right [showing an approximation of the new LCD])