UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has made a commitment to deliver the world’s first net-zero transatlantic flight next year.
The minister has also revealed a new competition fund to encourage the aviation industry to achieve the feat.
Up to £1 million (€1.18 million) in funding will be made available from 2022 to 2023 to support the testing, research and personnel costs of the flight, which will use 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The competition is open to airlines, fuel producers, aircraft or engine manufacturers and fuel suppliers.
Grant Shapps, who made the announcement during a visit to the US, said: “This trailblazing net zero emissions flight, a world first, will demonstrate the vital role that sustainable aviation fuel can play in decarbonising aviation in line with our ambitious net zero targets.”
Current jet fuel specifications do not allow flights to use 100% SAF - meaning SAF use needs to be complemented by additional decarbonisation measures to be fully net zero.
The Government said delivering the transatlantic flight would help accelerate the testing and approval of 100% SAF “to unlock the full decarbonisation potential of this technology”.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “UK airlines strongly support the development of a UK SAF industry, which will play a vital role in helping our sector deliver net zero emissions by 2050, as we are committed to doing.”
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