Virgin Atlantic to Fly First Transatlantic SAF Flight
Virgin Atlantic has been granted the green light to conduct the inaugural transatlantic flight powered entirely by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The Civil Aviation Authority has officially sanctioned this groundbreaking flight, scheduled to depart from London Heathrow and touch down in New York JFK on November 28.
SAF is produced from eco-friendly sources like agricultural residues and used cooking oil, making it a sustainable alternative to traditional jet fuel. This innovative fuel can reduce carbon emissions by a remarkable 70%, although its production costs currently remain significantly higher.
Remarkably, SAF can be blended with kerosene in jet engines without requiring any modifications, up to a maximum of 50%. The Civil Aviation Authority thoroughly evaluated various aspects of Virgin Atlantic's planned SAF-powered flight before granting the necessary operating permit. This process included ground tests utilising an engine running on 100% SAF.
Rob Bishton, the CEO of the CAA, emphasised the importance of fostering sustainability within the aviation industry while prioritising safety. He noted that this permit not only enables Virgin Atlantic and others to showcase their dedication to sustainability but also exemplifies the industry's constant exploration of new technologies.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper highlighted the UK's pioneering role in the global effort to decarbonise flight. He acknowledged that the journey towards sustainable aviation commences in the UK, thanks to government funding that supports innovative initiatives like turning waste materials into the fuel of the future.
Virgin Atlantic's CEO, Shai Weiss, expressed his excitement about the permit, emphasising that it represents a monumental achievement for all the teams involved. He also underlined their commitment to utilising 10% SAF by 2030 and stressed the need for government support in creating an SAF industry in the UK to realise this ambitious goal. According to Weiss, they firmly believe that if they can produce it, they can fly it, heralding a more sustainable and eco-conscious aviation era.
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Source: Yahoo Finance