It's a first! Thomson flies a plane on cooking fuel

AOL Travel

Thomson Airways is to become Britain's first airline to fly customers on biofuel - in this case cooking oil - when it operates a service to Spain.

The airline says it plans to operate the flight from Birmingham to Palma, Mallorca, on July 28 once final safety clearance was received.

After that, weekly flights to Spain using biofuel will begin in September for a year, on the same route and then on the Birmingham-Alicante route during the winter schedule.

Thomson said the flights would operate on a 50/50 blend of Jet A1 fuel and hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) fuel -- made from used cooking oil.

Dutch airline KLM operated the world's first scheduled biokerosene-powered flight last week after one of its Boeing 737-800 jets flew 171 passengers between Amsterdam and Paris, using the same cooking oil-Jet-A mix that Thomson plans to use.

KLM, which merged with Air France in 2004, operated a one-off passenger flight using biofuels in 2009 - the world's first - and now plans to launch scheduled biokerosene-fuelled services between Holland and France in September.

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.'

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.'

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