Cooking oil has been used in the past to power cars and buses, but UK-based Thomson Airways just became the country’s first airline to launch fry-powered planes. Starting next month, the airline will operate a jet service from Birmingham to Mallorca, Spain that is powered by a 50/50 blend of Jet A1 fuel and hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) fuel.
Thomson Airways, who are owned by Europe’s biggest tour operator TUI Travel, will launch their oil-powered flights once safety checks have been carried out. If they are successful, weekly flights to Spain will continue for a year to assess its success.
If you are concerned about flying in planes powered solely by cooking oil, don’t worry. The fuel has been previously used by Dutch airline KLM, who operated the world’s first scheduled biokerosene-powered flight earlier in the week. A Boeing 737-800 used the same cooking oil fuel as it flew passengers from Amsterdam to Paris.
Thomson’s managing director Chris Browne said of the oil-based flights: “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.”
Despite the drawbacks of biofuels, the EU Commission and European airlines have signed up to produce 2 million tonnes of biofuel for aviation by 2020. The aim is to reduce pollution as well as the use of food crops, such as palm oil, to produce fuel.
For Thomson Airways and TUI Travels, the biofuel plan will help the companies reduce the carbon emissions from their airlines by 6 per cent from 2008-14. Not much, but it’s a start.
Via Daily Mail