The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a Permit to Fly for Virgin Atlantic to conduct a transatlantic flight powered by 100% SAF.

Using the flight code VS100, this will be the world’s first transatlantic flight powered solely by SAF. It will fly from London Heathrow to New York JFK on 28 November 2023 to showcase the feasibility of flying on 100% SAF.

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This project has been led by Virgin Atlantic and is partly funded by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Currently, international standards do not permit more than a 50% blend of synthetic fuel with regular jet fuel, so Virgin Atlantic required a specific permit to carry out the proposed flight.

Rob Bishton, Chief Executive at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

As the UK’s aviation regulator, it’s important that we safely enable the industry to embrace more sustainable practices and push the boundaries of what’s possible to create a greener aviation industry.

This permit not only allows Virgin Atlantic and others to showcase their commitment to sustainability, but also serves as an example of how the industry is always exploring new technologies. Innovation and sustainability are vital areas of work, but they must go hand in hand with safety. This is a reminder that together we can drive change, reduce emissions, and make the skies greener for generations to come.

The issuance of this permit follows a programme of technical reviews by the CAA. This process included successful ground testing with Rolls Royce on a Trent 1000 engine running on 100% SAF.

The CAA’s permit is one of several approvals required for this flight. It now paves the way for Virgin Atlantic to submit applications to the Federal Aviation Administration, Irish Aviation Authority, and Transport Canada to enable the flight to travel through US, Irish and Canadian airspace.

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic said:

The Civil Aviation Authority’s permit to fly Flight100 marks a key milestone and a huge achievement for all the teams working towards this historic flight. Getting to this point has been more than a year in the making and taken radical collaboration across our consortium partners and government. We’re committed to using 10% SAF by 2030, but to get there we need the government to support the creation of a UK SAF industry. We know that if we can make it, we can fly it.


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