Hainan Airlines completes first cross-ocean flight using biofuel

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China’s Hainan Airlines successfully completed its first-ever, international flight using biofuel.  The plane took off from Beijing and landed in Chicago ahead of schedule. The company hopes the fuel can be used on even more flights.

CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

Follow Dan Williams on Twitter @Danielclearcut

Hainan Airlines Flight 497 arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport to a water canon salute. It was the first-time a plane using biofuel had flown from China’s mainland to the United States. The base component of the fuel’s formula was waste, cooking oil.

The president of Hainan Airlines, Sun Jianfeng, had a birds-eye view for the event, given he captained the flight.

“Hainan Airlines wants to be the greenest airlines in the world which is why we use biofuel this time. Today’s flight is a special flight but I hope in the near future that this will be a normal flight. That is my hope,” he said.

Airlines account for around two-percent of the world’s greenhouse emissions. That figure is expected to grow even more in the future.

It’s been nine years since the first successful biofuel flight took to the skies, but the technology has made great advancements since then. The new focus is on further development of a sustainable, and cost effective, mass biofuel.

“These fuels today are very advanced. That is the future for sustainable fuels. They are not only effective from an environmental perspective, they are better from a technical perspective and that is a big deal. It is now a reality. It is not just an aspiration,” Darren Morgan of Boeing said.

The use of aviation biofuel on a mass scale could be set for lift off with further cost improvements.