Virgin Atlantic’s Flight100 on Tuesday departed from London to New York, creating a milestone as the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) transatlantic flight by a commercial airline.
The flight took off at 1149 GMT operated by a Virgin Boeing 787 powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. It follows the successful transatlantic crossing by a Gulfstream G600 business jet using the same fuel last week, said a Reuters report.
The flight is scheduled to arrive at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport at 1440 EST (1940 GMT). There are no paying passengers on board or cargo on the flight, which comes days before the start of COP28 climate talks in Dubai on Thursday, Reuters added.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, said in a blog post celebrating this momentous moment: "So proud to be onboard Virgin Atlantic’s Flight100 today.
"The world will always assume something can’t be done… until you do it. The spirit of innovation is getting out there and trying to prove that we can do things better for everyone’s benefit. This flight today shows that sustainable jet fuel can be used as a drop-in replacement for jet fuel – and it is the only viable solution for decarbonising long-haul flights.
"A huge well done to the Virgin Atlantic team and all of our partners for coming together and making this happen – now we’ve shown that it can work, it will take industry and governments to make it an everyday reality. Our greatest challenges are also our greatest opportunities – but no one can do this alone. There's still a long way to go, there simply isn’t enough sustainable aviation fuel – the next step is to see policy change in the UK and US and investment to change that."
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in his social media posts said: "Backed by UK government funding, today’s Virgin Atlantic flight from London to New York is fuelled for the first time entirely by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), made primarily from waste oils and fats such as used cooking oil.
"The Transport Secretary and Richard Branson are on board, marking a major milestone towards making air travel more environmentally friendly and decarbonising our skies. It's an important step as we move towards our goal of reaching Net Zero by 2050.
"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."