Air Canada's first-ever flight using biofuels headed from Toronto to Mexico City Monday, in an effort to showcase the aviation industry's global commitment to greener transportation.
An Airbus 319 used recycled cooking oil and jet fuel for the journey, which the aircraft maker says could cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 40 percent.
"Today's flight with Air Canada proves that the aviation industry is in a strong position to reduce emissions," said Fabrice Bregier, president and CEO of Airbus.
The flight is part of an environmental initiative by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to coincide with Rio+20, a United Nations sustainable development conference in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.
"To make this a day-to-day commercial reality, it now requires political will to foster incentives to scale up the use of sustainable biofuels and accelerate modernization of the air traffic management system," Bregier said.
"We need a clear endorsement by governments and all aviation stakeholders to venture beyond today's limitations."
The Air Canada flight was part of a series of flights taking ICAO head Raymond Benjamin to the Rio+20 summit that sought to demonstrate cleaner, more environmentally-friendly ways of traveling.
Before taking off in Toronto, Benjamin boarded a Porter Airlines flight in Montreal that used a combination of biofuels and traditional jet fuel.
After Mexico City, he was then expected to board two more flights, first to Sao Paulo and then to Rio de Janeiro, also powered by alternative fuels.
With the prospect of oil prices staying high, biofuels are becoming a more attractive alternative for airlines seeking new ways to curb their fuel budgets.
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