EUROPE & CIS: Virgin Atlantic first to fly on biofuel

Virgin Atlantic, made history recently by being the first airline in the world to fly one of its aircraft on biofuel from London Heathrow to Amsterdam. Together with partners Boeing, GE Aviation and Imperium Renewables, Virgin Atlantic flew a Boeing 747 using a biofuel composed of babassu oil and coconut oil. These oils are environmentally […]


Virgin Atlantic, made history recently by being the first airline in the world to fly one of its aircraft on biofuel from London Heathrow to Amsterdam.

Together with partners Boeing, GE Aviation and Imperium Renewables, Virgin Atlantic flew a Boeing 747 using a biofuel composed of babassu oil and coconut oil. These oils are environmentally and socially sustainable, according to Virgin.

Both are found in everyday cosmetic products, such as lip balm and shaving cream, and do not compete with staple food sources. In addition, the babassu nuts and coconuts were harvested from existing, mature plantations. No modifications were made to either the aircraft or its engines to enable the flight to take place.

Only the flight crew and technical advisors – who monitored flight data for later analysis – were onboard for the flight. "Today marks a biofuel breakthrough for the whole airline industry," said Virgin Atlantic president Richard Branson. "Virgin Atlantic, and its partners, are proving that you can fi nd an alternative to traditional jet fuel and fly a plane on new technology, such as sustainable biofuel.

"This pioneering flight will enable those of us who are serious about reducing our carbon emissions to go on developing the fuels of the future, fuels which will power our aircraft in the years ahead through sustainable next-generation oils, such as algae."