Virgin Atlantic and Rolls-Royce have announced that the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) transatlantic flight is set to take off on 28 November 2023.

This announcement follows the successful completion of a SAF blend ground test on the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine.

Net Zero Flight
Aviation is one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise and without urgent collaborative action it could be one of the highest-emitting sectors for greenhouse gases by 2050

As part of this milestone, fuel suppliers, Air bp and Virent have been selected to supply the 60 tonnes of SAF that will be used for the flight.

The SAF will be produced through the hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) pathway in addition to synthetic aromatic kerosene (SAK) SAF at an 88% and 12% blend ratio.

Using this fuel, a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner will travel across the Atlantic from London Heathrow (LHR) to New York JFK.

Rob Watson, President – Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, said:

We are incredibly proud that our Trent 1000 engines will power the first ever flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel across the Atlantic. Confirming that we have successfully completed the ground test of the Trent 1000 engine today, using the chosen 100% SAF blend, gives us increased confidence for the engine’s performance and operation ahead of the flight this November. The flight will represent an incredible milestone for the entire aviation industry in its journey towards net zero carbon emissions.

This project is joint-funded by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) as part of its Jet Zero Strategy.

It is led by a consortium consisting of Virgin Atlantic, Rolls Royce, Boeing, University of Sheffield, Imperial College London and Rocky Mountain Institute.

Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, said:

A year on from the launch of our Jet Zero Strategy, I’m delighted that Virgin Atlantic has confirmed the first ever transatlantic flight powered solely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel will take off this winter. Thanks to government funding, this flight will be a huge step towards net zero and showcase the potential of SAF – creating jobs and helping to grow our economy.


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