Virgin crew prepare to fly first-ever 100% SAF transatlantic flight

Virgin's first transatlantic SAF flight
By Linsey McNeill
20/07/2023
Home » Virgin crew prepare to fly first-ever 100% SAF transatlantic flight

Virgin Atlantic is planning to fly the first-ever transatlantic flight 100% powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on 28 November.

The airline today confirmed it had completed a successful SAF blend ground test today on a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine.

It said the test marks a key milestone in the project to launch the first 100% SAF flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK, on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The flight will go ahead on 28 November, subject to further testing, safety checks and regulatory approval.

There will be no paying passengers, instead Virgin said it hopes to have ‘people key to the project’ onboard.

The 60 tonnes of SAF to be used will be supplied by Air bp and Virent.

Virgin said the one-off flight will ‘demonstrate the potential of SAF as a 100% drop-in replacement for fossil fuel’.

It said SAF kicks out up to 70% less CO2 emissions than traditional jet fuel, adding that it has a ‘fundamental role to play in aviation’s decarbonisation’.

Virgin CEO 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.”

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