Virgin Atlantic and Rolls-Royce have taken a considerable step toward flying the first 100% SAF transatlantic flight.
The airline and engine manufacturer have successfully ground tested sustainable aviation fuel on the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine, ready for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK set to take off on 28 November 2023.
In addition to the test, fuel suppliers Air bp and Virent have been confirmed as suppliers of the 60 tons of SAF to be used in supporting consortium research, testing and the flight itself.
The SAF used for this flight will be produced through the Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) pathway as well as synthetic aromatic kerosene (SAK) SAF at an 88% and 12% blend ratio.
Virgin Atlantic is committed to finding more sustainable ways to fly on its mission to NetZero 2050. It already operates one of the most fuel and carbon efficient fleets across the Atlantic. The flight also demonstrates the need for collaboration in aviation and the need for the industry to go further and develop a UK SAF industry to meet aviation’s 10% SAF by 2030.
Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, said: “The 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel transatlantic flight will be historic moment in aviation’s roadmap to decarbonisation. Alongside fleet transformation, SAF is the most readily available way for our industry to decarbonize, 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 operate with 100% SAF – if we make it, we can fly it.”