British airline Virgin Atlantic has secured funding from the UK Government to operate its net zero flight from London to New York.

The net zero transatlantic flight, claimed to be a world-first, is scheduled to hit the skies next year powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). 

For this flight, the carrier will use a Boeing 787, equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, which will take off from London Heathrow and fly to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport in the US.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said: “As an airline founded on and committed to innovation, we’re proud to lead a cross-industry consortium of partners to make aviation history by operating the first ever 100% SAF flight across the Atlantic.

“This challenge recognises the critical role that SAF has to play in decarbonising aviation and the urgent collective action needed to scale production and use of SAF globally.

“The research and results will be a huge step in fast-tracking SAF use across the aviation industry and supporting the investment, collaboration and urgency needed to produce SAF at scale. Our collective ambition of net zero by 2050 depends on it.”

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The SAF used in the flight will be produced mainly from waste oils and fats, including used cooking oil.

In addition to decarbonising the aviation space, the SAF industry in the UK is estimated to generate an annual turnover of £2.4bn by 2040, while supporting up to 5,200 UK jobs by 2035. 

UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: ”For decades, flying from London to New York has symbolised aviation’s ability to connect people and drive international progress. It’s now going to be at the forefront of cutting carbon emissions from flying. 

“Not only will this flight pave the way for future generations, but it will demonstrate just how much we can achieve when we work together on a shared goal – bringing together some of the best businesses and academics in the world and led by a British airline.”

By 2030, UK will also make it mandatory to use at least 10% of jet fuel produced from sustainable sources.