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Virgin Atlantic calls for domestic sustainable aviation fuels industry

Increased fleet efficiency and a commitment to the use of 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) in 2030 are part of targets set by Virgin Atlantic in a bid to achieve net zero by 2050.

Building a strong domestic SAF industry would put the UK at the forefront of commercialising new technologies in support of net zero ambitions, capable of reducing the lifecycle carbon impact of aviation fuel by more than 75% compared to traditional jet fuel, according to the carrier.

Beyond SAF, and recognising the importance of electric flight in future efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Virgin Atlantic has recently partnered with Vertical Aerospace, to launch the first eVTOL short-haul network in the UK.

The airline aims to achieve:

  • By 2026: 15% gross reduction in CO2/RTK achieved through continued fleet transformation and operational efficiency
  • By 2030: 15% net reduction in total CO2 emissions, including 10% of fuel sourced from sustainable aviation fuel
  • By 2040: 40% net reduction in total CO2 emissions

Chief executive Shai Weiss said: “We know that as an airline we have a pivotal role to play in protecting the planet, while connecting people across the globe and strengthening crucial trade connections.

“For more than a decade we’ve been leading the way in the decarbonisation of the aviation industry, and now as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic we have a unique opportunity to ensure we return to the skies more sustainably. The carbon targets outlined today will help us achieve this as we work tirelessly on our mission to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“Aviation is a truly global industry, and we can’t tackle this on our own. That’s why we’re continuing to work closely with the UK’s Jet Zero Council and Sustainable Aviation, as well as aligning with innovation and technology partners across the industry and beyond.

“There is a long road ahead but we’re committed to pioneering change and being transparent on our progress, on our way to a low carbon future.”

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