British Voyager Plane refuels mid-air with Sustainable Aviation Fuel

  • Bureau
  • 10:40 AM, April 18, 2023
  • 797
British Voyager Plane refuels mid-air with Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Voyager refuelling with Typhoon jets over the North Sea @RAF

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has completed a Voyager air-to-air refueling flight, powered by an approximately 43% blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

The aircraft used a blend of traditional fossil fuels and SAF such as cooking oil. This flight marked the launch of a new aviation Net Zero Carbon roadmap for commercial aviation.

Flying from RAF Brize Norton, over the North Sea and via Farnborough on its return home, the Voyager aircraft also undertook air-to-air refuelling with Typhoons, as part of planned training.

Made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks, such as used cooking oil, SAF reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel and will be key to reducing the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and fossil fuels, while improving operational resilience.

This significant moment follows a series of recent milestones achieved by the RAF towards a sustainable aviation future, including the world first RAF Voyager flight fuelled by 100% SAF.

The flight took place as part of annual, two-day industry led conference – Sustainable Skies World Summit.

Supporting the RAF’s ambitions to be Net Zero by 2040, the Voyager flight was part of an existing task from the Chief of the Air Staff to gather the required data to inform the longer-term transition away from fossil fuels.

The RAF has identified that using SAF and alternative aviation fuels will be critical for the future operational capability of the RAF and wider military aviation.

The Voyager offers a payload of 43 tonnes of freight and 291 seat passenger capacity, plus an aeromedical evacuation capability.

During the two days of the Sustainable Skies World Summit, the Jet Zero Council (JZC) – a partnership between industry and government with the aim of delivering at least 10% SAF in the UK fuel mix by 2030 and zero emission transatlantic flight within a generation - will also meet.

The SAF for the flight was sourced by International Airlines Group (IAG), and supplied by bp.