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British Airways flew a ‘perfect flight’ using recycled cooking oil

  • September 17, 2021

British Airways just flew what’s it’s calling a “perfect flight” using recycled cooking oil.

The airline said Tuesday’s Flight BA1476 was its first passenger flight “directly powered by sustainable aviation fuel, provided by bp, blended at 35% with traditional jet fuel in accordance with technical aviation specifications.” That sustainable aviation fuel was made with the recycled oil.

British Airways called the flight “carbon-neutral,” noting that remaining emissions were offset.

“This flight offered a practical demonstration of the progress we’re making in our carbon reduction journey,” British Airways Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle said in a statement. “By working together with our industry partners we’ve delivered a 62% improvement in emissions reductions compared to a decade ago.” A similar flight to Edinburgh in 2010 served as a benchmark for comparison.

Sustainable aviation fuel wasn’t the only thing that helped reduce the flight’s carbon footprint.

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What else makes the ‘perfect flight’

  • British Airways used an Airbus A320neo, which it calls “the quietest and most fuel-efficient short-haul aircraft” in its fleet.
  • British air traffic control provider NATS directed the plane in continuous climb and descent to avoid unnecessary fuel burn, leveling off.
  • An electric Mototok vehicle, powered by Heathrow’s bank of renewable energy, was used to push the plane back.
  • Only one engine was used to taxi along the runway for takeoff. The second engine was also turned off after landing.
  • Aircraft computer systems determined the perfect flying altitude for fuel efficiency, given the plane’s weight and wind data, and climb speeds were optimized in advance.

While this flight was considered a success, British Airways customers shouldn’t expect this on other flights anytime soon. The airline is aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the board by 2050.

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