June 13, 2024

Virgin Atlantic and Rolls-Royce reach milestone for SAF first

Virgin Atlantic and Rolls-Royce have taken a significant step towards flying the first 100% SAF transatlantic flight.

The pair have successfully ground tested the sustainable fuel on the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine, ready for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK set to take off on November 28 2023.

In addition to the test, fuel suppliers Air bp and Virent have been confirmed as suppliers of the 60 tonnes of SAF to be used in the world first, supporting consortium research, testing and the flight itself.

The SAF will be produced through the Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) pathway as well as synthetic aromatic kerosene (SAK) SAF at an 88% and 12% blend ratio.

Virgin Atlantic and the consortium will leverage the 100% SAF transatlantic flight to further SAF use, as well as addressing other environmental impacts of the sector.

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, said: “The 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel transatlantic flight will be a historic moment in aviation’s roadmap to decarbonisation.

“Alongside fleet transformation, SAF is the most readily available way for our industry to decarbonise, but currently there’s not enough supply and without it and the radical collaboration required to produce it, we can’t meet our 2030 targets.

“We need UK government support to create a UK SAF industry to allow for every single flight out of the UK to operate with 100% SAF – if we make it, we can fly it.”