The American carrier is teaming up with airplane manufacturer Boeing to produce a new jet that can be powered by renewable fuels, heightening the focus on green issues in the aviation industry.
News of Continental’s intentions come as the UK government introduces new plans for a ten per cent increase in the ‘green’ airlines levy in next year’s budget, while plans are also in place to phase out existing per passenger flight duties and replace them with a single per plane tax.
Renewed pressure has also been applied to airlines by the current consultation on a third runway for Heathrow Airport, raising questions of how airlines will reduce their carbon footprint and earn the right to increased numbers of flights.
Renewable fuels are now becoming a major area of carbon-cutting focus, with Continental executive Mark Moran claiming: "Exploring sustainable biofuels is a logical and exciting new step in our environmental commitment."
Scheduled for 2009, the Continental biofuel flight will mark Boeing’s third biofuel demonstration in tandem with an airline, following Virgin Atlantic’s recent successful flight between London and Amsterdam.