SAF-powered transatlantic flight reduced emissions by 64%: Virgin Atlantic


Virgin Atlantic shared emissions data of its maiden transatlantic flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK Airport saying that the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on the flight cut emissions by 64% compared to standard flight operated on Jet A-1.

“A full lifecycle analysis – showing a saving of 95 tonnes of CO2, or 64% of the emissions produced from a standard flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK,” said the airline in its finding.

Titled ‘Flight100’, which flew from London Heathrow to New York JFK on November 28th 2023, was the world’s first commercial aircraft operating across the Atlantic on 100% SAF, on a Boeing 787, using Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

The flight was done by a collaboration among various aviation stakeholders including Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Imperial College London, University of Sheffield, ICF and Rocky Mountain Institute.

The flight was part funded by Department for Transport and approved by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and other regulators including the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

In addition to carbon reductions, the flight also saw a 40% reduction in non-CO2 particulate emissions.

“Flight100 was more than a year in the making, demonstrating that together we can achieve more than we can alone. Virgin Atlantic is committed to finding new solutions, leading efforts to decarbonise our industry and to share any learnings or innovations. This approach underpins Flight100,” said Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic.

“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.”