Virgin Atlantic confirms first 100% SAF-powered transatlantic flight

A date has been set for the first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) transatlantic flight operated by Virgin Atlantic.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner set to take off on November 28 from Heathrow to New York JFK.

Confirmation came as the airline and Rolls-Royce successfully ground tested SAF on a Trent 1000 engine. 

The test marks a key milestone in the project ahead of the transatlantic trial. 

Fuel suppliers Air bp and Virent will supply the 60 tonnes of SAF to be used.

SAF currently represents less than 0.1% of jet fuel volumes and fuel standards allow for just a 50% blend in commercial jet engines. 

The one-off Virgin Atlantic flight in November will demonstrate the potential of SAF as a 100% drop-in replacement for fossil fuel.

The airline’s chief executive Shai Weiss said: “The 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel transatlantic flight will be a historic moment in aviation’s roadmap to decarbonisation. 

“Alongside fleet transformation, SAF is the most readily available way for our industry to decarbonise, but currently there’s not enough supply and without it and the radical collaboration required to produce it, we can’t meet our 2030 targets. 

“We need UK government support to create a UK SAF industry to allow for every single flight out of the UK to operate with 100% SAF – if we make it, we can fly it.”

Aviation minister Baroness Vere added: “A year on from the launch of our Jet Zero Strategy, I’m delighted that Virgin Atlantic has confirmed the first ever transatlantic flight powered solely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel will take off this winter. 

“Thanks to government funding, this flight will be a huge step towards net zero and showcase the potential of SAF – creating jobs and helping to grow our economy.”

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