This Airline Just Made the World's First Completely Plastic-Free Flight

Hi Fly Airlines plans to be the first fully plastic-free airline by the end of the year.


(Courtesy Mirpuri Foundation)

In a global first for the airline industry, the first ever passenger flight that amazingly didn't have a single-use plastic item on board took to the skies.

Everything on the Hi Fly Airline flight from the cups, spoons, soft drink bottles, salt and pepper shakers to the toothbrushes were replaced by sustainable products that are reusable or combustible.

Mirpuri Foundation and Hi Fly President Paulo Mirpuri said in a press release: “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. The Foundation had driven this policy through all of our family corporations and it’s a commitment we take very seriously.”

The plastic-free flight was part of four trial flights on jets charted by the tour operator Alto Astral from Lisbon to Natal in Brazil and was filled with holiday goers who left on Boxing Day – December 26 –made the return trip a week later. In total, 700 passengers made the trip.

The test flight gave the company a chance to fine tune what works in terms of plastic replacement and what needs to be tweaked. Mirpuri said in the press release, “The test flights will help us trial the many substitute items we have developed and introduced, 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.”

The test flights prevented over 350KG of single-use plastics from entering into our oceans. “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," said Mirpuri.

“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,” Mirpuri added.

Fabiano Silva, who was en route to surprise her daughter Mariana in Brazil for the New Year said in the press release, “It’s a noble initiative and one I think people would always support. I am happy to play my part.”

The Mirpuri foundation takes corporate environmental responsibility and sustainability very seriously and they have identified the elimination of plastic ocean pollution as one of their goals. The plastic-free test flights are just one move in that direction. Their offices are already single-use plastic free.

The foundation is a founding partner of the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat that competed in the Around the World Ocean Race 2017-18. The boat was part of the foundation's campaign to eliminate marine litter and plastic in the oceans.

Now the plastic-free aircraft is carrying that message in the skies. The Airbus A340 jet was painted on both sides to match Turn the Tide on Plastic boat according to the press release. It has one dark blue "polluted" side and one light blue "clean" side.

If plastic waste is not cleaned up, the oceans will contain more plastic by weight than fish in 2050 according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's latest figures. But it is not too late to save our oceans and responsible companies like Hi Fly are doing their part. Hopefully, more airlines will follow their example and make the skies environmentally friendlier.

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