Hi Fly’s world-first single use plastic-free flights have been hailed as a rip-roaring success by passengers, travel industry executives and environmental campaigners alike.
The Portuguese wet-lease carrier replaced plastic cutlery with bamboo and cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, packaging for bedding, dishes, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles and toothbrushes were switched with compostable alternatives crafted from recycled material on a series of full passenger test flights to and from Brazil over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
The world’s first single-use ‘plastic-free’ flight took passengers on a Boxing Day trip from the carrier’s base in Lisbon to Natal, Brazil, on an Airbus A340 and was followed by three further 100% single use ‘plastic-free’ test flights in addition to a series of 12 reduced plastic journeys between Lisbon and Oporto to Fortaleza, Recife, Maceió and Salvador.
The total of 16 trial flights, are all part of Hi Fly’s long-stated commitment to be single use ‘plastic-free’ on all its flights by the end of 2019.
Hi Fly President Paulo Mirpuri told assembled media agencies: “We are delighted that the test flights went so well.
“Seeing the reaction from passengers, full of smiles, and happy, even proud to be involved, only confirms to us that this is the right direction for us.
“Our target of being plastic free by the end of the year seemed ambitious to many in our industry, but by believing in our project and working hard to make it happen, we can see that it is entirely achievable and our focus now will be to commit to our deadline.”
The eco-alternatives used were plant-based catering disposables made from renewable, lower carbon or recycled materials, that can be composted along with food waste. Also, paper, card, pla&cpla, bamboo, chinaware, glass & stainless steel.
After the flights, excess food waste and packaging were collected and delivered to a licensed waste management operator where they were processed for energy production.
Bamboo cutlery was sanitized by Hi Fly’s catering arm LSKY to be reused. Glass bottles were returned to the supplier to be cleaned and re-filled, while card and paper were grouped for collection and recycling. The total weight of plastic saved across the whole trial was 1500 kg.
Hi Fly Passenger Fabiano Silva, who was en route to surprise her daughter Mariana in Brazil for the New Year said: “It’s a noble initiative and one I think people would always support. I am happy to play my part.
‘Plastic pollution needs to be addressed. My daughter will be delighted to hear that I was on the first ever flight in the world to take off without plastic.”
Rodrigo Santos, who was hoping to enjoy a few days relaxing in Natal over the holiday period with wife Ines, agreed: “It’s an important initiative for us and for the environment, I think it’s great that a Portuguese company is taking a lead here. It’s all been very smooth, the crew are excellent and we are happy to be a part of building a better future.”
Pedro Ramos, the Director-General of Tour Operator Alto Astral, the client for this Hi Fly flights, also hailed the experiment a great success.
“It was a great experience to be involved in. And the feedback from our passengers has been entirely positive. We salute our friends at Hi Fly and we are delighted to have been involved in what will be a historical moment.”
Hi Fly is the largest wet leasing specialist operating an all Airbus fleet. The EASA and IOSA certified and FAA approved carrier operates a fleet of large widebody aircraft, Airbus A330s, A340s the A380s, exclusively available for Wet Lease worldwide. Wet Lease – the supply of aircraft and crew, maintenance and insurance – is Hi Fly’s core business and has been developed with unmatched operational expertise for over a decade.