Hi Fly goes plastic-free on all flights

Portuguese wet-lease airline Hi Fly has removed all single-use plastic items from its fleet of aircraft, after successful pilots of plastic-free flights in 2018.

Alternatives have been found for items such as cutlery and cups. Image: Hi Fly

Alternatives have been found for items such as cutlery and cups. Image: Hi Fly

The company, which owns and operates eight planes, successfully completed its first plastic-free trial flight in December 2018, paving the way for a commitment to ban all single-use plastic items from all flights in 2020.

After further trial flights, Hi Fly invested in collaborations with suppliers to substitute items such as cutlery, toothbrushes and cups for bamboo alternatives and flexible bedding sleeves for compostable alternatives across its fleet.

Hi Fly this week announced that these actions had led to the achievement of its 2020 goal. Before it started work to reduce plastics on its flights, the firm estimated that each trip generated 350kg of waste single-use items, many of which were not classed as recyclable.

Hi Fly president Paulo Mirpuri said that when the company pledged to ban single-use plastics in just a 12-month window, it was “never in doubt” about its ability to deliver on the commitment.

“We knew that if we worked hard to overcome the problems that it was 100% possible,” Mirpuri said.

“More importantly, in our hearts, we knew it was much more than that. We knew that this was a 100% necessary move for the future of our planet. 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 clear.”

Journey towards plastic-free

With the so-called war on plastics showing no sign of slowing down, Hi Fly is one of several prolific travel firms working against single-use items.

International airlines Virgin Australia and Etihad are also taking action in this space, as is international train operator Eurostar.

In tandem, transport hubs are becoming increasingly popular playing fields for plastics reduction. Dubai Airport begun work to remove all single-use plastic from its operations and products on 1 January, while Gatwick Airport has introduced a reusable coffee cup lending scheme and Stanstead Airport is trialling plastic-free security bags.  

Similarly, the likes of Heathrow Airport and Network Rail have signed up to City to Sea’s Refill initiative, investing in new drinking water fountains and accompanying communications campaigns.


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Sarah George 



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