Virgin Atlantic’s Historic 100% SAF: A Step Towards Decarbonizing Aviation

A Virgin Atlantic passenger jet powered by 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) successfully completed a London-to-New York flight, showcasing the potential of low-carbon options in the industry's fuel mix. The flight, which carried Virgin's billionaire founder, Richard Branson, and a few others, is the first time a commercial airliner has flown long haul on 100% SAF. 


Aviation is not an easy industry to decarbonize, accounting for an estimated 2-3% of global carbon emissions. Engines in commercial use are not yet certified to fly on more than 50% SAF, and the vast majority of flights blend in a much lower amount of SAF with traditional jet fuel. 

EN - 728x90

After successful ground tests, Virgin and its partners won permission to fly using only SAF from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, and Canadian and UK regulators. The fuel used to power Tuesday's flight is mostly made from used cooking oil and waste animal fat mixed with a small amount of synthetic aromatic kerosene made from waste corn. 

Save Money 728x90

The industry hopes that the Virgin flight will highlight the need for governments to provide financial support to make SAF more readily available. Environmental advocacy group Stay Grounded called the flight "a greenwashing distraction." Many European airlines, including Virgin, IAG-owned British Airways, and Air France, have said they want to be using 10% SAF by 2030. However, analysts say the 2030 target looks challenging given SAF's small volumes and high cost. Europe's airlines are committed to a new era of flying, investing 169 billion euros ($185 billion) in lower carbon technology. Virgin said the engines on the flight would be drained of SAF and tested before it returned to service using regular fuel.

ANJ Hotels

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3
EN - 728x90