Nov. 28, 2023, marked a historic day for the aviation industry, when the world’s first flight operating on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) soared from London’s Heathrow Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
This was Virgin Atlantic’s Flight100, and it was flown by a Boeing 787 using Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. The flight marked a world first by a commercial airline across the Atlantic — a milestone made possible through a year of “radical collaboration” by a Virgin Atlantic–led consortium that included Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Imperial College London, University of Sheffield, ICF and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), in partnership with the U.K.’s Department for Transport.
SAF can be made of anything from woody biomass to fats/greases/oils and other feedstocks, and it has a significant role to play in the decarbonization of the long-haul aviation industry. The SAF used on Flight100 was a unique dual blend of 88 percent