ESG Today writes that the flight was conducted by Virgin Atlantic back in November of last year as part of a consortium including the likes of Rolls Royce, Boeing and University of Sheffield. The flight followed a pledge made by the British government to conduct the world's first 100% SAF-powered transatlantic flight by the end of 2023.

The flight took off from London's Heathrow Airport and landed at the JFK Airport in New York, a common route for transatlantic flights, with a Boeing 787 aircraft powered by Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines. The SAF used for this flight had an 88% share of processed waste fats, oils and greases as feedstock, while the remaining 12% in the mix was synthetic aromatic kerosene, made from plant sugars.

The flight, as per Virgin Atlantic, did not require any sort of modification to the aircraft and took place just as any other transatlantic flight operated by the company.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said that "Flight100 was more than a year in the making, demonstrating that together we can achieve more than we can alone. Virgin Atlantic is committed to finding new solutions, leading efforts to decarbonize our industry and to share any learnings or innovations. This approach underpins Flight100."

Key results from the flight revealed that using the synthetic fuel alternative in order to completely replace traditional kerosene reduced the carbon footprint associated with the same route by 95 tons or 64%, as well as a 40% cut in non-CO2 particulate emissions.

Interestingly, engineers observed that the SAF blend used for the flight had an even higher energy density than traditional kerosene, producing 1% more energy than the same mass of fossil fuel.

Furthermore, by better planning a direct route and reducing taxi time at the airport, the flight was also able to save 2.2 tons of jet fuel, although direct route planning is rather situational.

"We have demonstrated that it can be done – SAF is a safe drop-in replacement for fossil fuel and can be used with today’s infrastructure", Weiss added.