Thomson Airways makes aviation history with its first flight for UK customers on sustainable biofuels

Posted: 6 October 2011 | Thomson Airways | No comments yet

First UK airline to operate commercial flight on sustainable biofuels…

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Thomson Airways will today be the first UK airline to fly customers on sustainable biofuel when flight TOM 7446 takes off from Birmingham Airport to Arrecife. Carrying 232 passengers on a Boeing 757-200 it is scheduled to depart on 06th October at 14:25 HRS for the four hour flight.

This landmark flight reiterates Thomson Airways’ position at the forefront of sustainable aviation. The airline already operates one of the highest load factors in the UK industry and therefore makes the most efficient use of its fleet and of the airport slots made available to it. It operates with an emission rate of 75g CO2 per passenger kilometre flown, significantly lower than average emission rates for both low cost and full service scheduled carriers.

Chris Browne, Thomson Airways Managing Director, says: “This is a very exciting day for Thomson Airways and a further step in our commitment to invest in sustainable aviation biofuel. We firmly believe the adoption of sustainable biofuels by airlines will help achieve the Government’s carbon budget which commits the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2025. Most strikingly, sustainable biofuel has the potential to reduce aviation emissions by up to 80% in the long term.”

The sustainable biofuel used by Thomson Airways is supplied by Dutch-based company SkyNRG, who is advised by an independent Sustainability Board consisting of two leading NGOs and a leading Government scientific institute. Platinum Fuels have been chosen as the fuel handler to fuel the aircraft.

Aviation Minister Theresa Villiers said: “I very much welcome Thomson Airways’ announcement and wish them well with this project. The 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.

“We want aviation to flourish and grow but we have also been clear that the environmental impacts of flying must be addressed. I welcome the efforts being made by the UK aviation and aerospace industries to drive forward the technological change we need to tackle this challenge effectively.”

Henry Smith MP for Crawley echoes her sentiment: “I’m proud to have such an innovative company such as TUI Travel based in my constituency. Their commitment to enhancing the family holiday is matched by their commitment to improving our environment by starting to use biofuel for flights. Good quality and responsibility is a hallmark of TUI Travel.”

Following the first UK commercial sustainable biofuels flight, there will then be a short gap before the daily operations start from early 2012 for approximately six weeks. Birmingham Airport is supporting the sustainable biofuel operation through the provision of a dedicated fuel truck, independent technical oversight and storage infrastructure. As sustainable biofuels become more commercially viable, Thomson Airways plans to expand its use of sustainable biofuels across its fleet.

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