On Tuesday, November 28, British airline Virgin Atlantic made its first-ever flight from London to New York using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
There were several people on the plane, including airline representatives and the UK Transport Minister. The flight passed without incident. Virgin Atlantic said the transatlantic flight would demonstrate that SAF is a safe replacement for kerosene jet fuel.
The airline said the flight’s fuel was made from waste cooking oils and animal fats, with the addition of synthetic kerosene derived from corn waste. The plane will return to London using the usual kerosene.
Environmentalists criticized the demonstration flight, calling it greenwashing (the company’s desire to appear more environmentally friendly than it actually is – RS). Experts noted that while the public’s attention is focused on one “green” flight, hundreds of thousands of flights, including Virgin Atlantic, are operated on fossil fuels.
In addition, environmentalists emphasize that there is not enough waste from the production of biokerosene to significantly affect the emissions of the entire aviation industry. It currently accounts for approximately three percent of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
SAF makes up less than 0.1% of total jet fuel used and costs three to five times more than conventional jet fuel. There is even less other type of eco-fuel – synthetic – on the market, and it costs even more. The second analogue of SAF – hydrogen – will be able to begin to be used only by the mid-2030s, when the corresponding engines appear. They are only suitable for short-haul aircraft, writes the BBC.