‘Flight 100 proved SAF’s readiness, not necessarily its long-term viability’
Settling into my seat above the wing the sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, was being pumped into, any safety concerns I had about the concept of flying across the Atlantic on a flight powered by fuel made from waste cooking oils was quickly allayed by laughter at the jokes about smells of chip fat and kebab wafting through the cabin.
Jokes aside, while Virgin Atlantic’s “if you can make it, we can fly it” mantra has certainly been underscored, perhaps less certain still is can we make it in sufficient quantity – and should we fly it?
It’s easy to be critical of VS100, the first long-haul flight to be powered fully by SAF, and there was no shortage of commentators branding it a “publicity stunt”.
MORE: Flying into the history books onboard Flight 100
There was, of course, huge media outreach, and TTG was one of the participants. But flight VS100 undoubtedly served its purpose – to prove 100% SAF-fuelled long-haul flight is possible, and to communicate it on a global scale to incite demand and stimulate production.
The fact the fuel powering VS100 had to be shipped from the US and Europe to the UK, and the fact the flight itself was less than half full, cannot – rightly – be ignored. But when you take the flight for what it was broadly touted as – a proof of concept – one can’t help but feel it did move the dial.