The first British commercial flight to be powered by biolfuels will be operated by Thomson Airways this month. The Tui Travel carrier plans to operate the flight from Birmingham to Palma on July 28 once final safety clearance is received.
The aircraft will use a 50/50 blend of Jet A1 fuel and hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) fuel made from used cooking oil. Weekly flights to Spain using biofuel will begin in September for a year, on the same route initially and switching to Birmingham-Alicante during the winter.
Sustainable biofuels cost significant more than regular jet fuel and is a premium that the airline industry cannot sustain today. However, using biofuels will help Thomson Airways meet Tui Travel's plan to reduce the carbon emissions from its airlines by 6% between 2008 and 2014.
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.”
European airlines, biofuel producers and the EU Commission last week signed up to produce 2 million tonnes of biofuel for aviation by 2020.
Thomson Airways said the fuel for its maiden biofuel-powered flight would be supplied by Dutch company, SkyNRG, which is advised by an independent sustainability board.
Aviation minister Theresa Villiers said: “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.”
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