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Virgin Atlantic’s Historic Transatlantic Flight on Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Virgin Atlantic set off on a historic voyage, flying the first transatlantic flight powered entirely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Virgin Atlantic embarked on a groundbreaking journey, operating the first transatlantic flight powered solely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

The flight departed London’s Heathrow Airport for New York’s JFK, utilizing SAF in both engines of a Boeing 787 plane equipped with Rolls-Royce engines.

Limitations and Criticisms:

Despite the pioneering nature of the flight, concerns persist within environmental groups regarding the actual impact of SAF on decarbonizing the aviation sector. 

Due to technological constraints and high production costs, SAF, produced from renewable sources and waste, is currently limited to a maximum blend of 50 percent with kerosene.

“Greenwashing” Allegations:

Critics from organizations like Stay Grounded label the flight as “greenwashing,” highlighting the disparity between this single SAF-powered flight and the thousands of daily flights reliant on fossil fuels. 

Questions arise about the scalability and sustainability of SAF production in significantly reducing aviation emissions.

Challenges and Debates Ahead of COP28:

As the flight precedes the UN’s COP28 climate conference in Dubai, Greenpeace emphasizes the limitations of SAF sources and advocates for addressing aviation emissions by curbing demand. 

The discussion at COP28 is expected to delve into the future of fossil fuels, including the feasibility and limitations of SAF in reducing aviation emissions.

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