- World first as Virgin Atlantic wins UK government funding to operate historic net zero London to New York flight
- Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Imperial College London, University of Sheffield, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and ICF also form part of an iconic British-led consortium
- Heralds future of low carbon aviation, with the wider sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry potentially creating thousands of UK jobs while supporting delivery of net zero aviation emissions by 2050
The first ever net zero transatlantic flight will take off from the UK next year, with Virgin Atlantic receiving government funding to fly across the pond using solely sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
No ordinary journey!
In 2023, one of Virgin Atlantic’s flagship Boeing 787s, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, will take off from London Heathrow and make the journey to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport – a journey made by thousands of people for business, family and leisure every week. But this will be no ordinary journey.
When fully replacing kerosene, SAF can slash lifecycle carbon emissions by over 70% compared to conventional fossil jet fuel. This flight is expected to be fuelled by SAF made primarily from waste oils and fats, such as used cooking oil. The use of 100% SAF on the flight, combined with carbon removal through biochar credits – a material which traps and stores carbon taken from the atmosphere – will make the flight net zero.
Not only will SAF be key in decarbonising aviation, but it could create a UK industry with an annual turnover of £2.4 billion by 2040, and which supports up to 5,200 UK jobs by 2035.
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