May 18, 2024

Virgin Atlantic shares results of Flight100

Flight100, Virgin Atlantic’s historic transatlantic flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel, saved 95 tonnes of CO2, or 64% of the emissions produced from a standard flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK.

According to the figures unveiled this week, that’s the equivalent of 54 cars off road for a year, or the energy consumption of 33 UK homes.

The Boeing 787, using Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, was the world’s first commercial aircraft operating across the Atlantic on 100% SAF and followed more than a year of radical collaboration by a Virgin Atlantic led consortium, including Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

Headline results published by the consortium also showed a 40% reduction in non-CO2 particulate emissions, suggesting the use of SAF could have a material impact on improving local air quality at airports and reducing the formation of persistent contrails.

It also concluded that the CO2 savings achieved through efficiency initiatives, including direct routing and reduced taxi time, resulted in 2.2 tonnes of jet fuel saving, or 4% of overall fuel burn, which if applied to every Virgin Atlantic flight for a year would be enough fuel saved to fill 24 Olympic sized swimming pools

Following the release of the headline results, a consortium led technical deep dive will take place on 3 June 2024.

Shai Weiss, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said: “The project findings range from the carbon emission savings achieved, fuel performance versus fossil derived Jet A-1 and the wider environmental benefits that adopting SAF may deliver in the future. We are ready to fly 100% SAF, but a scale up in production of c. 100 times from where we are today is needed to meet 10% SAF by 2030.

“We must now see urgent action from Government, oil majors and private capital to invest in the production capacity needed to deliver a thriving UK SAF industry. We’ve proven that if enough SAF is made, we will fly it.”

Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Atlantic, added: “There is more work ahead to scale SAF at pace and whilst we cannot solve that challenge alone, Virgin Atlantic is committed to being at the forefront of the monumental effort required to decarbonise long haul flight.”