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Fuelling the UK’s first flight using 100% SAF in all engines

Release date:
December 2022
We were delighted to team up with Rolls-Royce and other industry partners to help the Royal Air Force (RAF) carry out a world-first 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) flight using a military aircraft of its size – the RAF Voyager. 


A military variant of an Airbus A330 the RAF Voyager, which features Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines, was powered entirely by 100% SAF supplied by Air bp. The flight, which took-off from Brize Norton, Oxford in the UK on Wednesday 16 November, paves the way for a range of possibilities for the future of flying. It also marked the first of any aircraft type to fly on 100% SAF in the UK. 


Rolls-Royce played a vital role in enabling the flight to take place, by securing the technical approval for SAF use on its Trent 700 engine, which powers the RAF Voyager fleet. Air bp’s SAF, which is made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks, such as used cooking oil, reduces lifecycle carbon emissions on average by 80% compared to the conventional jet fuel it replaces. The use of SAF lessens the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and improves operational resilience. 


“We are delighted to be continuing our collaboration with Rolls-Royce on this RAF SAF test flight,” said Martin Thomsen, Senior Vice President, Air bp. “Our ambition is to be the decarbonisation partner to the aviation industry and we are working at pace with industry players to promote SAF availability, accessibility and affordability to support the aviation industry to meet its lower carbon goals.” 


In the weeks leading up to the flight, a series of preliminary technical checks, engine ground runs and alternative engine runs took place, culminating in the final flight test using 100% SAF in both engines. 


Following the test flight, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said: “Climate change is a transnational challenge that threatens our resilience, our security and our collective prosperity. That is why I have set the RAF the ambitious challenge of becoming the world’s first net-zero Air Force by 2040. The way we power our aircraft will be key to meeting that challenge and the RAF is already thinking about how we will operate beyond fossil fuels. 

This exciting trial flight of a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton powered entirely by SAF is an important milestone on that journey and marks another technological first for the RAF alongside our industry partners.” 


For more information on Air bp’s SAF please click here.