The world's first plastic-free flight took off just after Christmas, operated by a Portuguese airline that claims to no longer "ignore" the impact of single-use material on the environment.

Hi Fly, a company that leases aircraft in Portugal and Malta, has replaced plastic cutlery and containers with bamboo and compostable alternatives made from recycled material. The flight took passengers from the carrier's headquarters in Lisbon to Brazil on an Airbus A340 on Boxing Day and constitutes the first of three subsequent test flights, all carrying a total of 700 passengers.

According to Hi Fly president, Paulo Mirpuri, the goal is to adopt a policy of no plastic on all its flights by the end of 2019.

"We know from the comments received from airline customers and passengers that this is the right thing to do for the airline," Mirpuri said. "These test flights will prevent approximately 350 kg of single-use, virtually indestructible plastics from poisoning our environment."

He told Canadian television channel CTV, "We can no longer ignore the impact of plastic contamination on ecosystems, as well as human health."

Among the many disposable plastic items that have been replaced are cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, bedding packs, dinnerware, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles and tea brushes. teeth.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Hi Fly is specialized in the rental of Airbus aircraft to large airlines to airlines that need extra capacity during peak hours. It covers 400 destinations and serves 200 airlines. he rented an A380 to Norwegian data-reactid = "24"> Hi Fly specializes in leasing Airbus widebody aircraft to carriers requiring additional capacity during peak periods. It covers 400 destinations and serves 200 airlines. Last August, for example, he rented an A380 to Norwegian because of the problems faced by the budget carrier with the engines of its Boeing 787s.

The disposal of single-use plastics is a promising initiative for the aviation industry, but will other airlines follow suit?

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Last year, Ryanair he's committed to no longer using plastic from here 2023 as part of a five-year plan to become "the greenest airline", partly by eliminating non-recyclable plastics from its aircraft and its headquarters. "data-reactid =" 26 "> Last year, Ryanair he's committed to no longer using plastic from here 2023 as part of a five-year plan to become "the greenest airline", partly by eliminating non-recyclable plastics from its aircraft and its headquarters.

An encouraging promise – even if it is a special promise – as Ryanair's CEO, Michael O'Leary, was quoted as calling it "luddites bringing us back to the eighteenth century".

Kenny Jacobs, Marketing Director of Ryanair, said: "For customers on board, this will involve initiatives such as replacing wooden cutlery, biodegradable coffee cups and removing plastic from our in-flight product line. "

EasyJet, its rival, told Telegraph Travel: "We are introducing new compostable herbal hot drink cups and we are replacing plastic drink stirrers and spoons with wooden alternatives." These are the first steps. and replace plastic single-use items on our flights whenever possible, and we are already offering a 50pc reduction on hot drinks to customers using their own reusable cups. "

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air passengers generated more than 5.7 million tons of cabin wastes in 2017, a figure that is expected to double within fifteen years if no action is taken. It was taken.

In October, Air New Zealand announced that it had already withdrawn 3,000 straws, more than 7 million coffee agitators and half a million bags of eye masks and toothbrushes from its salons and planes, but will ban 14 plastic items over the next year. – among them goblets, lids and plastic bags.

In the United States, Alaska Airlines dropped the use of plastic straws and Delta began phasing them out.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "When the telegraph travel he's been talking to Sir Richard Branson last month In this regard, he said: "I admit, we are still guilty of it – I was just talking to our Virgin Atlantic team, and somebody mentioned that a passenger was being offered 12 plastic cups during a single trip "data-reactid =" 33 "> When the telegraph trip he's been talking to Sir Richard Branson last month In this regard, he said, "I admit it, we're still guilty of it, I was talking to our Virgin Atlantic team, and somebody mentioned that a passenger was offered 12 plastic cups during one trip

"Even when we do everything in our power to eliminate these problems, you always encounter situations like this, we just have to deal with them."

However, with Virgin Voyages, the adult-only cruise line it launched in 2020, the rules have been strict from the beginning: no single-use plastic on board.

British Airways said it was "actively seeking out non-plastic alternatives, where possible", but had not announced any more concrete plans to date.

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This will come from national operations, corporate aircraft and branded hotels in Europe and North Africa.

Alice Macandrew, Group Business Director at Thomas Cook, told us: "What is significant for the travel industry is that the amount of plastic waste to the Mediterranean increases by 40% during the summer, which demonstrates a direct link between our industry and plastics. pollution. About eight million pieces of plastic are entering the ocean every day, she added.

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