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Published on Friday, October 7, 2011

Thomson's 'chip-fat' flight condemned

Thomson Airways launched the first passenger flight powered by biofuel yesterday but as the company was celebrating its success green campaigners damned it as an irresponsible PR stunt.

The Boeing 757 four-hour flight from Birmingham to Lanzarote, with 232 passengers onboard, had one engine powered with a 50% blend of hdroprocessed esters and fatty acids mixed with jet fuel.

Parent company TUI Travel claimed the flight put Thomson Airways at the forefront of sustainable aviation and plans to run the rest of its fleet on bioefuels within three years, but airportwatch, which campaigns against aviation expansion, said it was a gimmick that would end up harming the environment.


Friends of the Earth (FoE) also warned that rather than making flying greener, the use of biofuels for flights will wreck rainforests, push up food prices and increase climate-changing emissions.


Thomson Airways had originally planned to launch a test flight at the end of July running on used cooking oil, but FoE claimed company was unable to source enough fuel in time and had to postpone. Thomson said the delay was caused by testing and safety clearances.


FoE biofuels campaigner Kenneth Richter said: "It"s not surprising Thomson couldn"t find enough used cooking oil to fly to Lanzarote - it would take about a hundred years for each passenger to save up enough chip fat."

Aviation minister Theresa Villiers welcomed the flight. She said: "The government believes 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."

Thomson Airways managing director Chris Browne said: "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.

"Sustainable biofuel has the potential to reduce aviation emissions by up to 80% in the long term."

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  • Green Movement

    I bet, when the economy has really gone to the dogs, this Green lobby will be happy that no one will afford to fly as frequently as before. They seem to have no shame, and no limits.

    By Richard Mandunya, Friday, October 7, 2011

  • Dammed if you do, dammed if you don"t!

    The green contingent need to speak with one clear voice about what is what! I, for one moment don"t think that there were any safety concerns. The key seems to be sustainability and if Bio Fuels can be sustainably sourced then what"s the problem? Oil prices threaten many industries and we need solutions now, anything that is essentially being re-used, such as "chip fat" can"t be a bad thing.

    By robert sarran, Friday, October 7, 2011

  • Are you serious!

    Looking at sustaianable fuel sources is a great thing. With the cost of oil rising as supplies are beginning to run out surely re-using 'chip-fat' oil that would otherwise be dumped somewhere along the line, why is this a bad thing? Green campaigners have nothing better to do that complain at all the good things that people are trying to do in this world. I'm sorry but how many of these 'green' people drive, do they take holidays? More than likely yes. I think its a great thing that Thomson Airways are doing and have nothing but praise. We obviously cannot continue using oil at the rate with limited supplies and looking at alternative options is the best option, at least Thomson are actaully looking at doing something! Good on you Thomson, carry on!

    By Gary Morris, Friday, October 7, 2011

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