Virgin Atlantic has signed an agreement with fuel provider Neste Oyi for the delivery of sustainable aviation fuel at London Heathrow.

Neste will deliver 2.5 million litres (2,000 metric tonnes) of neat SAF to the airport in the first half of the year. According to the airline, this would be enough to operate 140 flights between London and New York – calculations are based on SAF/jet fuel blend of 35/65 per cent.

Neste SAF is made from sustainably sourced, renewable waste and residue raw materials. In its neat form, it can achieve a reduction of up to 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel use.

The agreement is part of the airline’s wider collaboration with Neste to “increase the availability of SAF in the UK”, and represents the first commercial supply of SAF for Virgin Atlantic.

The airline states that this marks an important step to achieving 10 per cent SAF by 2030, though it notes that it will need to “deliver this volume more than seventy times over” to meet the target.

Holly Boyd-Boland, VP corporate development, Virgin Atlantic, 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 whilst only enough to operate 140 flights between London and New York, it’s a starting point.

“To meet our 10% SAF target in 2030 we need to deliver this volume more than seventy times over [calculated by Virgin Atlantic based on 10% SAF volumes in 2030], requiring cross industry and Government action to support commercialisation of SAF at scale, particularly in the UK. We will continue to work closely with Neste and ExxonMobil, as well as wider industry partners, to find innovative solutions to achieve this goal.”

Jonathan Wood, vice president renewable aviation from Neste, added:

“We are delighted to provide Virgin Atlantic with our Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Neste is committed to working together with the aviation industry to achieve its emission reduction targets. We are ready to support the aviation industry and UK government’s policy ambitions to increase the use of SAF to at least 10% by 2030. We need to act now – SAF is a proven solution with clear climate benefits and is already available today.”

ExxonMobil, the airline’s largest fuel supplier at London Heathrow, will provide expertise in the supply and distribution of jet fuel to manage this delivery of SAF into the UK.

To read more about SAF and our coverage, see:

Sustainable Aviation Fuels