British Airways made a breakthrough on September 14, 2021, when it operated its first-ever passenger flight using recycled cooking oil.

Flight BA1476 flew from London to Glasgow and produced 62% less carbon dioxide emissions than a similar flight a decade ago, British Airways said in a press statement. 

The airline said that it was the combination of the fuel used--partly made from recycled cooking oil--with optimal flight paths, electric airport vehicles, and using its newest aircraft, which contributed to the decrease of emissions. 

Although the 1 hour 30 minute flight still produced 6.4 tons of carbon dioxide, the flight demonstrated the progress that the aviation industry has made in its attempts to decarbonize ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 (known as Cop26) in November.

The momentous flight was operated by the airline’s Airbus A320neo with the new sustainability livery which was launched the first week of September 2021. The Airbus A320neo is the manufacturer’s quietest and most fuel-efficient short-haul model. 

Air traffic control service NATS helped in further making the flight efficient. It ensured a direct ascent and descent with no holding time, and in Heathrow, electric vehicles were used to push the aircraft on the ground. 

“This flight offered a practical demonstration of the progress we’re making in our carbon reduction journey. By working together with our industry partners we’ve delivered a 62% improvement in emissions reductions compared to a decade ago,” British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said. 

“This marks real progress in our efforts to decarbonise and shows our determination to continue innovating, working with governments and industry, and accelerating the adoption of new low-carbon solutions.”

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