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Plastic bottle duvets drive British Airways sustainability effort

written by Adam Thorn | February 24, 2020

British Airways’ first-class duvets are now manufactured from 19 recycled plastic bottles in a bid to beef up the airline’s sustainability credentials.

The revelation came after Prince Charles was given a tour around the airline’s engineering base in Cardiff in front of 400 staff.

The airline claims it is now “forensically” assessing its entire operation from “nose-to-tail” to bring down the carbon footprint of each journey.

Some of its developments include:

  • Retracting landing lights earlier on its A320 fleet, burning less fuel and saving 8,000 tonnes of CO2 per year; a saving equivalent to 150 return flights from London to Athens;
  • Replacing plastic swizzle sticks with bamboo versions, saving 45 tonnes of plastic per year;
  • Taxi-ing to the runway using a single-engine taxi on short-haul flights, saving 3,700 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to more than 100 return flights from London to Madrid;
  • Using lighter cabin trolleys to save 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year; equivalent to more than 300 return flights from London to Paris;
  • Replacing seats on short-haul aircraft with new lighter weight versions saves 9,100 tonnes of CO2 per year. That’s equivalent to more than 350 return flights from London to Berlin.

The Prince of Wales was shown around a Boeing 787-9, as staff showed off the inside of the aircraft’s engine, explaining that work has now started on a project to convert household waste into sustainable aviation fuel.

British Airways chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz said, “Every decision we make at British Airways now starts with a simple question: what does that mean for our sustainability aspiration.

“We’re now offsetting carbon emissions on all our flights within the UK, and were the first airline group to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”


Louise Evans, director of communications and corporate responsibility, added, “From new, quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft to sustainable swizzle sticks that eliminate the use of single-use plastic, we’re carrying out a huge transformation of the way we fly.

“His Royal Highness opened this engineering base 26 years ago, and we were delighted to welcome him back to our engineering base here in Cardiff so he can see for himself the steps we are taking to a sustainable future.”


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