Virgin Atlantic says first 100% SAF transatlantic flight proves it’s safe

Virgin says SAF is safe
By Linsey McNeill
07/05/2024
Home » Virgin Atlantic says first 100% SAF transatlantic flight proves it’s safe

Virgin Atlantic has shared results from its first ever transatlantic flight on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which it says proves it’s safe to use with existing infrastructure.

The airline said the data shows that the Boeing 787 flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK last November kicked out 95 tonnes  – or 64% – less carbon dioxide than a standard flight.

It said this was equivalent to the energy consumption of 33 UK homes, or taking 54 cars off the road for a year.

It said there was also a 40% reduction in non-CO2 particulate emissions, which suggests that switching to SAF could have a ‘material’ impact on local air quality at airports and reduce the formation of persistent contrails.

SAF was also slightly more efficient than fossil fuel, producing 1% more energy, which will bring further environmental benefits, said Virgin.

“Building on the success of Flight100, industry must continue to radically collaborate for aviation to use SAF on all flights globally,” it said.

A consortium-led technical deep dive into the results of the flight will take place on 3 June. 

“Alongside technical, operational and regulatory advances, there must also be an evolution of policy,” added Virgin. “UK Government must now match ambition with action – implementing its SAF mandate and moving at pace to invest in a revenue certainty mechanism to create a UK SAF industry, 10,000 jobs and nearly £2 billion of economic value for the UK by 2030.”

Virgin CEO Shai Weiss added: “SAF is a safe drop-in replacement for fossil fuel and can be used with today’s infrastructure.

“We are ready to fly 100% SAF, but a scale up in production of [around] 100 times from where we are today is needed to meet 10% SAF by 2030. 

“We must now see urgent action from Government, oil majors and private capital to invest in the production capacity needed to deliver a thriving UK SAF industry. 

“We’ve proven that if enough SAF is made, we will fly it.”

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