16 Apr 2012

Cooking oil powers Qantas flight

1:01 pm on 16 April 2012

Qantas has become one of the first airlines to fly a commercial aircraft using a 50-50 mix of conventional fuel and refined cooking oil.

On Friday a flight from Sydney to Adelaide went off without a hitch, using oil from McDonalds restaurants in Louisiana, which was refined in the US and flown to Australia at a cost four times the price of conventional aviation fuel.

But Qantas says it absorbed the one-off cost because it was keen to highlight the need for an Australian biofuel source, at a time when airlines and passengers around the world are dealing with high jet fuel and carbon emission costs.

The ABC reports that the Australian Government has given the airline $A500,000 to fund a study into the feasibility of alternative aviation biofuels.

Qantas says a complete move to biofuels could reduce airline carbon consumption by up to 60%.

Chief executive Alan Joyce says cooking oil may be one of many alternatives for the airline industry, which also include sugar cane and algae.

"There are plenty of alternatives and part of this study is to identify which has the best prospects of being a success."

Mr Joyce said the airline's sense of urgency ws justified since, from July, Qantas will be the only airline in the world to face liabilities in three jurisdictions.