Thomson dismisses 'greenwash' claims on UK's first commerical biofuel flight

This story is sourced from Flight International
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Thomson Airways has defended its efforts to conduct the UK's first biofuel flight, rejecting claims from an environmental group that it used scarce crop resources to power the aircraft.

The carrier performed the flight on 6 October having been forced to postpone the original service, scheduled to take place on 28 July.

Thomson used a Boeing 757-200 to transport 232 passengers from Birmingham to Arrecife in Lanzarote. The airline said the flight operated on a 50:50 blend of hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids biofuel made from used cooking oil and traditional jet fuel in one of its Rolls-Royce RB211 engines.

It sourced the fuel from Dutch company SkyNRG. The leisure carrier said it will commence daily biofuel operations on the route in early 2012 for a period of approximately six weeks.

While environmental organisation Biofuelwatch criticised the flight - describing it as "self-seeking and irresponsible greenwash" and accusing the airline of using virgin plant oils from camelina and babassu palm nuts - the airline dismissed the claim.

"The biofuel purchased by Thomson Airways is sourced entirely from used cooking oil," the carrier insisted. "No animal tallow, camelina or babassu was used."

It added that the July flight was postponed because of unforeseen delivery delays, which it said meant it was unable to conduct its stringent testing process in time.