Virgin Atlantic has completed the world’s first transatlantic 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight.
The route from London Heathrow Airport to New York JFK Airport was a test for the future decarbonisation of the route and the wider aviation industry.
Backed by UK government funding, both the Transport Secretary and Richard Branson were on board, marking a major milestone towards making air travel more environmentally friendly and achieving Net Zero by 2050.
Virgin Atlantic has also partnered with Virgin Unite and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to fund the collection of information on contrail emissions during the flight. These tests will advance the science around contrails and help to develop in-flight procedures to reduce aviation’s climate impact.
Sir Richard Branson said: “Sometimes you must show the world something can be done, to then spur action. This flight will hopefully achieve that. It will take everyone coming together, including the fuel industry and governments, to make sustainable aviation fuel a reality – protecting our planet and benefiting everyone. This is the defining challenge of the aviation sector and we must always be pushing for innovation.”
Rishi Sunak added: “I have always championed innovation in our economy. Today’s flight shows that when we have the confidence to invest in innovation, we can change our world for the better, driving jobs and growing the economy.”