Thomson Airways to make UK’s first biofuel flight using recycled cooking oil

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1st Jul 2011
Thomson Airways to make UK’s first biofuel flight using recycled cooking oil

Thomson Airways will become the UK’s first airline to fly customers on biofuel when it operates a service to Spain next month.

The carrier said the flights would operate on a 50/50 mix of Jet A1 fuel and hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) fuel - made from used cooking oil - in both of the plane’s engines.

The announcement follows news last week that Dutch flag carrier KLM operated the world’s first scheduled biokerosene-powered flight on Wednesday after one of its Boeing 737-800 jets flew 171 passengers between Amsterdam and Paris, using the same bio-fuel blend.

European airlines, biofuel producers and the EU Commission last week signed up to produce 2m tonnes of biofuel for aviation by 2020.

Thomson Airways, owned by TUI Travel, will operate the flight from Birmingham to Palma, Mallorca on July 28 once final safety clearance was received.

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Weekly flights to the Balearic island using biofuel will begin in September for a year, and also switching to Birmingham-Alicante during the winter schedule.

Thomson managing director Chris Browne said: “As sustainable biofuels become more commercially viable, Thomson Airways plans to expand its use of sustainable biofuels across its fleet over the next three years.”

KLM now plans to launch scheduled biokerosene-fuelled services between Holland and France in September.

Although biofuels are seen as a potential way to cut CO2 emissions, the use of food crops has been criticised for taking land that could be used to feed people.

“The British government believes that sustainable biofuels have a role to play in efforts to tackle climate change, particularly in sectors where no other viable low carbon energy source has been identified - as is the case with aviation,” aviation minister Theresa Villiers said in an interview with The Telegraph.

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