Virgin Atlantic has agreed a deal with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) specialist Neste Oyi to supply 2.5 million litres of the fuel.
The agreement with Neste will see SAF being delivered to Heathrow during the first half of 2022, as part of the airline’s target of using 10 per cent SAF for its flights by 2030.
It will be the first commercial supply of the fuel for Virgin Atlantic, although it first used sustainable fuel to power one of its aircraft in 2008.
Neste’s SAF is made of sustainably sourced renewable waste and residue raw materials, which can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent, compared with traditional jet fuel.
Virgin Atlantic has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 – the airline said it had already reduced emissions by 20 per cent between 2007 and 2019 through the renewal of its fleet.
Holly Boyd-Boland, Virgin Atlantic’s vice-president, corporate development, said: “After fleet renewal, SAF represents the greatest opportunity to decarbonise aviation in the short to medium term.
“This supply is the beginning of commercial SAF at scale for Virgin Atlantic and while only enough to operate 140 flights between London and New York, it’s a starting point.
“To meet our 10 per cent SAF target in 2030 we need to deliver this volume more than 70 times over, requiring cross industry and government action to support commercialisation of SAF at scale, particularly in the UK.”
The aviation industry has been stepping up its efforts in recent months to reduce emissions, including the increased use of sustainable fuel.
Jonathan Wood, vice-president, renewable aviation, at Neste, added: “We are ready to support the aviation industry and UK government’s policy ambitions to increase the use of SAF to at least 10 per cent by 2030.
“We need to act now - SAF is a proven solution with clear climate benefits and is already available today.”