Virgin Atlantic gets UK permit for first 100% SAF transatlantic flight

Virgin Atlantic has received a permit from British aviation authorities to fly from London to New York using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The permission paves the way to conduct this flight, a world first. reports that airlines are trying to decarbonize aviation by using SAF to power their engines. SAF is made from waste such as cooking oils, and enables airlines to reduce emissions by up to 70% compared to fossil fuels. The option of using SAF is a solution for aviation that is waiting for electric and hydrogen-powered options to become available in the coming decades.

Image by Virgin Atlantic

Airlines use SAF today to power jet engines as part of a blend with traditional kerosene. The test of conducting a flight on 100% SAF is an important next step in the development of the fuel in aviation.

According to, the permit was awarded following a number of technical reviews by the UK regulator, including successful ground testing of running the Rolls-Royce (RR.L) Trent 1000 engine that powers Virgin's 787 aircraft. It takes more than just the green light from Britain for the 100% SAF flight to take off. Virgin must now seek permission from regulators in the United States, Ireland and Canada for the flight.