Virgin Atlantic Will Fly the World’s First-Ever Transatlantic Flight With Net-Zero Emissions in 2023
, 2023-01-09 21:13:42
The new year is shaping up to be a momentous one for the aviation industry, as British airline Virgin Atlantic recently announced it will operate the world’s first transatlantic flight to achieve ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions. Scheduled to fly from London Heathrow to New York JFK in late 2023, the flight will be powered solely by sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF.
The airline plans to utilize SAF derived mainly from waste oils (like used cooking oil) and fats, aboard one of its flagship Boeing 787 jets, equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. Virgin Atlantic says no plane or engine modifications will be needed for the test flight. Low-carbon SAFs, developed from a range of non-fossil fuel sources, like agricultural waste or cooking oils, are considered “drop-in” fuels—making them compatible with existing aircraft engines and supply infrastructure.
Virgin Atlantic says the use of 100 percent SAF reduces carbon emissions by over 70 percent when compared to conventional jet fuel. The remainder of the flight’s net zero-emissions target—net zero is defined as a balance between both greenhouse gasses emitted and removed—will be met via an investment in carbon-removal credits.
The aim of the flight—which is being supported, in part, by £1 million ($1.22 million) in U.K. government funding—is to help gather data and demonstrate that 100 percent SAF-powered jets are safe and viable, as the global aviation industry moves toward broader…
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