First SAF-fueled commercial transatlantic flight takes off from London

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LONDON, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- A commercial passenger flight purely powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) took off from London on Tuesday, marking a new advancement in decarbonizing air travel.

The Boeing 787 test flight left London Heathrow Airport at 11:30 GMT and was scheduled to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after approximately eight hours of flying.

The Virgin Atlantic flight marked the first time a commercial airline making a long-haul journey using entirely SAF, following a successful transatlantic crossing by a business jet that utilized the same fuel last week.

British Transport Secretary Mark Harper, the airline's founder Richard Branson, and its chief executive officer (CEO) traveled on the flight.

"This government has backed today's flight to take off and we will continue to support the United Kingdom's emerging SAF industry as it creates jobs, grows the economy and gets us to Jet Zero," Harper said. Jet Zero is Britain's framework and plan for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector by 2050.

Aviation contributes up to 3 percent of global carbon emissions. Although SAF is crucial in curbing these emissions, its current usage only accounts for less than 0.1 percent of total global jet fuel due to limited production volumes and high cost.

"There's simply not enough SAF and it's clear that in order to reach production at scale, we need to see significantly more investment," Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said, urging the implementation of "regulatory certainty and price support mechanisms."

The fuel blend used to power Tuesday's flight consisted of 88 percent hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids made from used cooking oil and waste animal fat, along with 12 percent synthetic aromatic kerosene made from waste corn, according to the airline. Enditem

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