Virgin Completes Transatlantic Flight on Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Virgin Completes Transatlantic Flight on Sustainable Aviation Fuel

DALLAS — Virgin Atlantic’s Flight100 made history as the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) transatlantic flight by a commercial airline.

Departing from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to New York, the flight used a Virgin Boeing 787 with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. The flight, arriving at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), had no paying passengers or cargo. The achievement follows a recent successful transatlantic crossing by a Gulfstream G600 using the same fuel.

The feat comes on the heels of Rolls-Royce announcing a change in its strategic focus away from electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft. The company’s CEO, Tufan Erginbilgic, expressed skepticism about the significant role of hydrogen in aviation in the near future during a media call on Tuesday.

Erginbilgic believes SAF is the better solution for large jets to achieve net-zero climate targets. He is confident that conventional propulsion systems will continue to dominate the aviation industry for the next twenty years.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9. Photo: Luca Flores/airways
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9. Photo: Luca Flores/airways

Comments from Virgin Founder, UK Prime Minister

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson expressed pride in this innovative moment, highlighting the viability of sustainable jet fuel as a decarbonization solution for long-haul flights. Branson has been in the airline business since 1984 when he launched VS to shake up an industry he found boring. Nearly four decades later, he is still shaking up the industry.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised the flight, emphasizing its contribution to environmental goals, job creation, and economic growth. Branson and Sunak both called for policy changes and increased investment to further develop sustainable aviation fuel. tue airline’s achievement is significant given the industry goals of having a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in common use by 2030.

Aviation is one of the most difficult sectors to provide sustainable fuels for. This is due to the challenges surrounding alternative fuels, despite targets set by the White House to have all American carriers on SAFs by 2050. Some have contended that sustainable aviation fuel is a myth and cannot be done. Branson’s response to this upon the completion of the transatlantic SAF flight was, “The world will always assume something can’t be done until you do it.”

Featured image: Virgin Flight100 Sir Richard Branson and Crew. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Director of Aviation at Texarkana College and an A&P. His team is establishing a Part 147 school that is focused on the MRO market. Additionally, Brandon is a GA pilot.

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