DfT pledges £1m to finance world’s first net-zero transatlantic flight

The test aircraft will need to be ready next year. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has pledged £1m to finance the world’s first net-zero flight.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has called on the global aviation industry to work on the project, inviting international airlines to collaborate alongside the UK Government to deliver the demonstrator flight in 2023.

“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,” explained transport secretary Grant Shapps.

“It’s crucial that we place sustainability at the heart of the aviation industry’s recovery from Covid-19 and I look forward to working with them on this challenge, which will lower the impact flying across the Atlantic has on the planet.”  

A joint venture with innovation hub Innovate UK, the project is part of Jet Zero Council, a partnership between industry and government to cut aviation emissions.

To reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, the partnership is working on several projects, including sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs).

Made from materials such as household waster or used cooking oil, SAFs will save up to 70 per cent of CO2 emissions compared with a “normal” kerosene aviation fuel.

“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,” added Tim Alderslade, chief executive of aviation trade body Airlines UK.

“This announcement will provide additional momentum to achieving this and, alongside the recent £180m in Treasury support for the development of new UK SAF plants, demonstrates the commitment of Government to making SAF a key part of the decarbonisation of aviation.”


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