Portuguese Airline Becomes First to Ditch Single-Use Plastics on Flights

Portuguese Airline Hi Fly Becomes First to Ditch Single-Use Plastics on Flights

Portuguese airline Hi Fly has taken unprecedented steps towards improving sustainability by eliminating single-use plastic on flights.

The company launched a plastic-free trial on four flights last month, replacing cutlery with compostable bamboo cups and spoons. Salt and pepper shakers, bedding packaging dishes, single-serve butter pots, soda bottles, and tooth brushes were swapped for more sustainable alternatives. The first flight took off on December 26 out of Lisbon.

“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,” said Hi Fly president Paulo Mirpuri before the first flight.


According to Hi Fly, the trial, which took place over the New Year holiday period, was a success. More than 700 passengers were served sustainable alternatives, saving a total of 350 kilograms of plastic. Glass bottles were collected to be sanitized and refilled and any card and paper was gathered to by recycled.

“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,” Mipuri added.

While the trial period has ended, Hi Fly is now committed to eliminating single-use plastic from all flights.

“Our target of being plastic free by the end of the year seemed ambitious to many in our industry, but by believing in our project and working hard to make it happen, we can see that it is entirely achievable and our focus now will be to commit to our deadline,” Mipuri said.

More Sustainable Air Travel

While Hi Fly is aiming to become plastic-free, other airline companies are improving upon sustainability by catering to the increased demand for in-flight vegan meals. Over the summer, Air New Zealand became the first airline to serve the Impossible Burger, which generates less than an eighth of the greenhouse gas emissions required to produce the same amount of beef.

Last October, Hawaiian Airlines introduced a new vegan option on the majority of flights. And last November, Scandinavian Airlines added a dish featuring mushroom meat in order to be more in line with its eco-conscious values.

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