Virgin Atlantic claims it will be the first commercial airline to use biofuel in a demonstration flight planned for next month.

The airline will fly one of its Boeing 747 aircraft on a sustainable type of biofuel from London Heathrow to Amsterdam in a bid to demonstrate what the aviation industry can achieve using clean-fuel technology to reduce carbon emissions.

The flight is being run in conjunction with Boeing and engine maker GE Aviation. No passengers will be on board for the demonstration flight.

Virgin Atlantic president Sir Richard Branson said: “The demonstration flight next month will give us crucial knowledge that we can use to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.”

The airline launched its offset programme last November, allowing customers to buy their carbon offsets during a flight. It has 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order. These use 30% less fuel than the Airbus A340-300 and are up to 60% quieter.