Could fish and chips be the answer to sustainable flying?
Charlie Bennett
March 18, 2024

Last November, Virgin Atlantic’s Flight100 made history by soaring across the Atlantic, powered solely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). This wasn’t just any fuel; it was a special blend made from used cooking oil, proving that the future of flight could be more sustainable.

But here’s the catch: while SAF is a brilliant step towards cleaner travel, there’s a question mark over whether we can produce enough of it. After all, how many fish and chips would the country need to eat to keep our planes in the air?

In our 2019 survey, we estimated that the UK eats 382m meals from fish and chip shops every year. That’s requires roughly 69.9m kgs worth of oil, which can be made into 69,000 tonnes of SAF, enough for just 1,150 transatlantic flights.

Meanwhile, a record 1.6m passengers travelled to and from North America and Heathrow in December 2023 alone: enough to fill 6,060 Dreamliner aircrafts. From this data, it’s clear we would need way more than just used chip fat to meet the enormous, ever-growing demand.

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