Virgin Atlantic to Fly World’s First Net-Zero Transatlantic Flight

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Virgin Atlantic to Fly World’s First Net-Zero Transatlantic Flight


UK airline Virgin Atlantic announced that it will fly the world’s first net-zero transatlantic flight from London Heathrow airport to New York’s John F Kennedy airport using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in 2023, as reported by ESG Today on December 19. Virgin Atlantic has received funding from the UK government to support the project. The flight is expected to use SAF made from waste oils and fats, such as used cooking oil, and replace conventional kerosene-based aviation fuels. Currently, commercial flights can use a maximum of 50% SAF combined with kerosene. Flights that use 100% SAF are expected to produce 70% fewer carbon emissions compared to conventional flights. In addition to using 100% of SAF, Virgin Atlantic will also use biochar credits to make the flight net zero. 

Virgin Atlantic’s net-zero transatlantic flight is also in line with the UK government’s Jet Zero strategy to achieve net-zero aviation by 2050, and its pledge to deliver the first-ever transatlantic flight fueled purely by environmentally friendly aviation fuel by the end of 2023. The UK government hopes to scale the production and use of SAF globally to accelerate the decarbonization of the aviation sector, which currently accounts for approximately 2% of carbon dioxide emissions globally.