In a global first for the airline industry, and a defining moment for the sustainability of the planet, wet-lease carrier Hi Fly is poised to make the first-ever jet-age passenger flight with not a single-use plastic item on board.
The ‘plastics-free’ trial, involving four flights by Hi Fly’s wide-body Airbus A340, 9H-SUN, will jet into the history books for the first time on December 26th, when it takes off from Lisbon on its way to Natal in Brazil.
The first flight will be full with holidaymakers looking to Samba-dance their way out of 2018. It will return to Lisbon, this time with Brazilian passengers looking to welcome in the New Year Portuguese style. The travellers will then make the return journey home a week later. Over 700 passengers will take part in the trial.
Commenting ahead of the take-off, Hi Fly President Paulo Mirpuri said: “This historic Hi Fly flight, without any single-use plastic items on board, underlines our commitment to making Hi Fly the world’s first ‘plastics-free’ airline within 12 months.
“We take that commitment very seriously."
Also speaking prior to the flight, he added: “We are obviously excited and delighted that Hi Fly will be the first airline to attempt such a feat.
"Our corporate mission is based around sustainability and we work hand in glove with the Mirpuri Foundation to make sure that our corporate practices match our wider responsibilities to the planet.
“The test flights will prevent around 350 KG of single-use, virtually indestructible plastics from poisoning our environment.
“Over 100,000 flights take off each day around the world and, last year, commercial aircraft carried nearly four billion passengers. This number is expected to double again in less than 20 years. So, the potential to make a difference here is clearly enormous.
The test flights will help us trial the many substitute items we have developed and introduced them, in a real-world environment.
“We know we may encounter some initial teething problems, but we are confident of addressing these over the coming months.
“We know, too, from the feedback we have received from client airlines and passengers, that it’s the right thing for the airline to be doing."
Pedro Ramos, the Director-General of Tour operator Alto Astral, the company who chartered the flights between Lisbon and Brazil, spoke of his company’s delight at being a participant in this key industry event.
“Everyone at Alto Astral is excited to be involved in this adventure and we believe that future generations will thank those of us who have been prepared to stand up to try to make a difference now.
“Hi Fly has long been the leader in the field of corporate environmental responsibility and sustainability, and they have rightly identified, as a key objective, the early elimination of plastics pollution. It’s been great for us to see how, in practical terms, they have gone about replacing so much in order to kick-start this elimination process.
“All together for a better world, we say.”
The plastics-free test flight is just the latest move by Hi Fly to make its entire fleet ‘plastics free’ by the end of 2019.
Among the scores of single-use plastic items that have been replaced are: cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, sick bags, packaging for bedding, dishes, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles, and toothbrushes.
And among the many innovations presented to passengers on the flight, by the Hi Fly environmental experts, will be bamboo cutlery, an array of paper packaging, and containers that, once used, can be readily composted.