For the first time, a long-range commercial aircraft will fly across the Atlantic from London to New York using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel, consisting mainly of used cooking oil and plant products.

Esters and processed fatty acids from used cooking oil account for 88 percent of the fuel used in the flight.

The use of such fuel does not require special engines or any modifications to the aircraft.

The idea sounds very glamorous, but the cost of preparing such fuel may cause manufacturers to recalculate.

Sustainable fuel is currently only made in small quantities, costing 3 to 5 times the cost of regular jet fuel, so the British government does not like it to be used to power aircraft.

Holly Boyd Boland, vice president of corporate development at Virgin Atlantic, told Sky News: "This is not a zero-emission journey, but it certainly proves that we have tremendous tools and opportunities to reduce carbon significantly."

Professor Graham Hutchings, from Cardiff University, said: "This Virgin journey is a good thing, but we need to be very clear about the strengths, limitations and challenges that need to be addressed and overcome if we are to scale up those new technologies required within a few decades.

Airlines are pinning their hopes on sustainable fuels to reduce net emissions by up to 70 percent compared to conventional fuels, as they try to reduce reliance on carbon components before developing new electrically and hydrogen-powered options.

Commercial aviation currently accounts for up to 3 percent of the world's carbon emissions.