Delta TechOps Completes First Pass-Off SAF Test on Trent 1000 Engine

In Summary:
Delta TechOps recently completed its first pass-off engine test using blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), successfully returning to service a Virgin Atlantic Trent 1000 engine.

Delta TechOps teams recently achieved a major milestone in sustainability efforts, by successfully passing-off or deeming serviceable a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine with blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The test was performed on MRO customer and Delta SkyTeam Partner, Virgin Atlantic’s new- generation engine.

This test marks several achievements related to sustainability efforts at Delta TechOps, including the first time the MRO has passed off an engine with SAF. The blend for this test used a mixture of SAF and conventional jet fuel (JetA) with the SAF component provided by one of Delta’s sustainability partners, Gevo.

“This effort demonstrated that TechOps has the full capability to receive, blend and consume SAF, and I’m so proud of the industry-leading accomplishments that our team members continue to achieve,” said Dave Thompson, Vice President – Engineering, Quality and Safety, Delta TechOps. “We’re tangibly advancing Delta forward towards our goal to be a net-zero airline, and I look forward to doubling down on our sustainability focus as we continue to make strides in the future.”

In March 2022, Delta announced the signing of an agreement with SAF maker Gevo that significantly expands the availability of this nascent technology. Through the agreement, Delta expects to receive roughly 75 million gallons of SAF annually for seven years, anticipated to start mid-2026.

“After fleet renewal, SAF represents the greatest opportunity to decarbonise aviation in the short to medium term. Working closely with our partners at Delta to use a blend of SAF and conventional fuel in testing one of our Trent 1000 engines is a great step towards advancing the use of these fuels to meet our commitment of 10% SAF use by 2030.” said Ian McDonald, Head of Fleet Technical Management at Virgin Atlantic.

SAF is currently limited to a blended mix where the sustainable product is combined with conventional JetA up to a maximum blend amount of 50 percent. Delta TechOps will continue working with engine manufacturer partners and customers to establish more opportunities to use SAF in test cell operations.

Delta TechOps is the largest airline maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider in North America. In addition to supplying maintenance and engineering support for Delta’s large fleet of aircraft, Delta TechOps provides high-quality service to more than 150 other aviation and airline customers around the world and has developed strategic partnerships for next-generation engines with Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce. The organization specializes in high-skill work such as engines, components, and line maintenance. Delta TechOps employs thousands of aviation maintenance professionals and is one of the world’s most-experienced providers with more than 90 years of aviation experience. For more information visit

Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson in 1984, with innovation and amazing customer service at its core. In 2021, Virgin Atlantic was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the fifth year running in the Official Airline Ratings. Headquartered in London, it employs 6,500 people worldwide, flying customers to 27 destinations across four continents. Alongside shareholder and Joint Venture partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic operates a leading transatlantic network, with onward connections to over 200 cities around the world. On 3 February 2020, Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic launched an expanded Joint Venture, offering a comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers.

Sustainability remains central to the airline and since September 2019, Virgin Atlantic has welcomed seven brand new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, helping to transform the fleet into one of the youngest, quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky. By 2022, the airline will operate a streamlined fleet of 38 twin engine aircraft following the retirement of its B747-400s and A340-600s, making its simplified fleet 10% more efficient than before the Covid-19 crisis impacted.  For more information visit or via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @virginatlantic.

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