A Virgin Atlantic plane powered only by sustainable fuel completed its flight from London to New York on Tuesday, highlighting an environmentally friendly, low-carbon option for transatlantic flights.
The Virgin Atlantic flight, which took off from London’s Heathrow Airport and landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, marked “a year of radical collaboration to prove the power” of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The company said.
Tuesday’s flight was operated by a Virgin Boeing 787 and is the first time a commercial flight has flown exclusively on the SAF.
The company hopes the flight will prove that SAF can be a safe alternative to fossil-derived jet fuel and compatible with modern aircraft.
SAF fuel is made from waste products and saves up to 70 percent of carbon dioxide emissions but makes up only 0.1 percent of jet fuel used worldwide, the company statement said.
Virgin Atlantic said Tuesday’s flight demonstrated “that the challenge of increasing production is a challenge of policy and investment.”
“Collectively, industry and government must go further” to meet the aviation industry’s target goal of cutting emissions by 2030, the company said.
SAF is already used in jet engines with regular fuel blends, but after successful testing, Virgin and its partner companies Rolls-Royce, Boeing and others have been given clearance to fly by the US Federal Aviation Administration and Canadian and UK regulators on 100 fuels. percent SAF, Reuters reported.
Reuters reported that the fuel used on the flight was mostly made from cooking oil and waste animal fat.
Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson, who was one of the few members on board the flight on Tuesday, said he was proud of the work and crew involved in “decarbonising long-haul flying”.
Branson has previously acknowledged his group’s impact on climate change and said he has taken steps to combat it. In a September interview with NBC News, Branson said climate change is already happening and is a “fact of life.”
He said: “The amount of carbon entering the Earth’s atmosphere is heating the world, and it will cause great damage to the world if we do not control it.”
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