Virgin Atlantic has struck a deal to purchase 10 million gallons annually of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced by US firm Gevo and supplied via the carrier’s joint-venture partner and shareholder Delta Air Lines.

The agreement builds on Delta’s existing long-term partnership with Gevo and increases the use of SAF from the US west coast; the fuel will delivered in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

A330-900 Virgin Atlantic Airways Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine

Source: Airbus

The UK is in the process of setting a mandate, under which 10% of the fuel used by the country’s carriers must be SAF by 2030.

”What we are announcing today, is we have secured 20% of that commitment already,” Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss said today, speaking at a UK Aviation Club event in London.

Weiss had called on the UK govenment to take action to progress SAF production in the country at last month’s Airlines 2022 event in London, noting it would in the meantime have no option but to secure SAF from outside the UK.

”If you look at the UK there are no plants in production right now and there is long way to go between the five plants the government is orchestrating and actual technology and capital to go in it.

“There are many things the government needs to do to get there. We need to scale up by 100 times to get to 10% of aviation fuel and if you believe that long-haul flying is part of the green revolution – which it is – hydrogen and new technologies are all very good, but they are not going to change the physics of flying across the Atlantic in the foreseeable future.”

It marks a further airline commitment for Gevo, after Iberia and Qatar Airways both recently struck five-year SAF purchase deals. Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic’s European partner Air France-KLM yesterday disclosed a provisional 10-year deal beginning in 2023 for SAF provision from TotalEnergies.