Virgin Atlantic prepares for world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel transatlantic flight following new development

Virgin Atlantic, along with its consortium partners including Rolls-Royce, is set to operate the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel flight across the Atlantic on November 28, 2023.

The flight will travel from London Heathrow to New York JFK on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The consortium leading the project, jointly funded by the UK Department for Transport, includes Rolls-Royce, Boeing, the University of Sheffield, Imperial College London, and Rocky Mountain Institute.

Prior to the flight, a successful ground test of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine using the SAF blend was completed, marking a significant milestone in the project. The SAF blend used in the ground test consists of 88% Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) pathway and 12% synthetic aromatic kerosene (SAK) SAF. The successful ground test is a significant development, although the flight still requires further approvals to take place in November.

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘The 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel transatlantic flight will be a historic moment in aviation’s roadmap to decarbonisation. Alongside fleet transformation, SAF is the most readily available way for our industry to decarbonise, but currently there’s not enough supply and without it and the radical collaboration required to produce it, we can’t meet our 2030 targets. We need UK government support to create a UK SAF industry to allow for every single flight out of the UK to operate with 100% SAF – if we make it, we can fly it.’

Air bp and Virent have been chosen as fuel suppliers to provide the required 60 tonnes of SAF for the flight. The SAF production includes both HEFA and SAK SAF at an 88% and 12% blend ratio. A successful completion of the world’s first 100% SAF transatlantic flight will be a significant achievement for the aviation industry, showcasing the potential of SAF as a viable solution for sustainable long-haul flight. While SAF currently represents a small fraction of jet fuel volumes, the flight will demonstrate the potential for 100% SAF as a drop-in replacement for traditional fossil fuel.

In addition to the SAF flight, the project will focus on researching and addressing other environmental impacts of the aviation sector. The consortium aims to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions through operational efficiencies, research the non-CO2 effects of flying, and conduct an end-to-end life cycle analysis of the flight. Any remaining CO2 emissions from the flight will be offset through innovative carbon removals from biochar projects.

Sri Lankan hotel awarded recertification from Green Globe

Green Globe has announced that it has issued a recertification for the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel Colombo in Sri Lanka.

The hotel has been issued with the recertification after it was subjected to an audit about two years ago. The certification agency said that the recertification comes after the hotel implemented a number of improvements. The hotel was also commended for its continuous demonstration of leadership in sustainable tourism and corporate social responsibility.

After the hotel won the recertification, Denis Gruhier, general manager, said, ‘At Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, we firmly believe that creating awareness is the key to strengthening green initiatives. We are very proud to earn the prestigious Green Globe Certification for the third year in a row, and we aim to continue our close involvement with the local community, enhancing the John Keells leisure sector’s pledge ‘I Will Care.’ Associates of our hotel actively volunteer to participate in CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects embracing all four major ethnicities prevalent in this country, as we are dedicated to support ethnic harmony. Our recent CSR projects include assistance in the restoration of the historic Abeygiriya Temple, St. Anne’s Church, Ayeshwariya Lakshmi Amman Kovil, and the Galloluwa Jumma Mosque in Minuwangoda. We are a member of the local green sustainable business programme in the region.’

The hotel has implemented many measures that are focussed on saving energy and the environment. For example, energy and water usage is under strict surveillance in the hotel. Guest rooms are equipped with water-efficient, dual-flush toilets and water-saving showers and faucets. The hotel uses only chemicals that are biodegradable. It sends all wastes for recycling and food waste is donated to a local piggery. The hotel sports a roof-top vegetable and herb garden and all kitchen wastes are used in that garden.

The Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo is part of John Keells Hotels Plc.


Industry could do more for responsible and sustainable travel

The travel and tourism industry could do more for responsible and sustainable tourism, reveals a survey that took place at World Travel Market 2011 – the leading global event for the travel industry – by exhibitor SustainIt.

As the travel and tourism industry continues to grow, there is an increased emphasis on responsible travel. During WTM 2011 Technology and Online Travel exhibitor SustainIt, the leading software and data consultancy that specializes in sustainability performance, surveyed more than 200 WTM participants. This was to understand the industry’s experiences of sustainability and responsible tourism and work out whether the industry really is engaging in the principles of sustainability.

More than seven out of ten industry professionals, including hoteliers, airlines, resorts, and tourist attractions, believe the travel and tourism industry could do more to reduce poverty and support sustainable local economic development in destination communities. Only 18 percent of companies questioned have sustainable supply chains and procurement policies in place.

An increasing number of companies offer their customers carbon offsets, but only 26 percent of companies were looking at their own carbon footprint. Six out of ten industry professionals asked felt their company could do more to promote sustainability overall, with only 29 percent of employees not knowing if they had any targets or objectives to meet in these areas.

When WTM delegates were asked to identify the key responsible tourism issue for 2012, the survey ranked “Increasing employee and customer engagement in sustainability” as the top issue, with only 29 percent of respondents believing their company is doing enough to promote sustainability and responsible travel/tourism to its employees and customers.

These two statistics coincide to unveil that the industry is informed and aware of sustainability on one hand but has a lack of employee and customer engagement on the other hand.

SustainIT Managing Director Charlie Stockford explained: “Our survey shows that whilst there is increasing activity and concern around sustainable and responsible travel and tourism within the trade, many employees are not aware of what their own company is trying to achieve and, therefore, are unable to share it with their customers.

“We really hope that 2012 is a year where businesses start communicating and engaging far more with their employees about their sustainability and responsible travel programs, and that those companies who are just starting out realize the real positive impact a good sustainability program can make to both their profitability and to the future of our planet.”

Reed Travel Exhibitions Chairman of World Travel Market and pioneer of responsible tourism, Fiona Jeffery, expressed that the key observations revealed are ultimately the key reasons why WTM World Responsible Tourism Day – an international day of action dedicated to help protect the world – was formed.

“Travel companies, destinations, and professionals worldwide recognize that responsible tourism offers a valuable and exciting new dimension to travel and tourism. With this in mind, one of the key objectives of WTM WRTD is to help drive change by educating more responsible behavior with the travel and tourism industry and traveling public.”

This year, WTM World Responsible Tourism Day will take place on Wednesday, November 7 at WTM, ExCeL London. For further information, please visit or .