Thai Airways announces first commercial passenger flight using biofuels in Asia; company leading Sustainable Biofuels Development for Aviation Industry project to create both demand, supply

BANGKOK , December 21, 2011 (press release) – Thai Airways International is set to be the first airline in Asia to fly a commercial passenger flight using biofuels to support the Company's Travel Green initiative that is part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.

Mr. Piyasvasti Amranand, THAI President, said that under the CSR strategy, THAI has developed an important project on sustainability, in line with His Majesty the King's vision on renewable energy. THAI, as the national carrier, is opting to operate a commercial flight using bio jet fuel as one way to help reduce global warming and carbon dioxide emissions.

THAI is pioneering the use of bio jet fuel in Asia and Southeast Asia, which in future other carriers in the region will hopefully follow suit.

On Wednesday, 21 December 2011, THAI operated its inaugural biofuel flight, TG8421 utilizing Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Joining this auspicious occasion were members of the press and representatives from various organizations that support THAI's bio jet fuel project, such as PTT Public Company Limited, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (AEROTHAI), Department of Civil Aviation, Rolls Royce, and The Boeing Company. THAI has received support from petroleum producers, research firms, educational institutions, aircraft and engine manufacturers, and different government bodies affiliated with the aviation industry to develop bio jet fuel for aviation in Thailand.

A second flight TG104 between Bangkok and Chiang Mai flew passengers on the first passenger biofuel flight in Asia. Revenue from this flight will go towards developing renewable energy in Thailand. THAI also extended an invitation to 100 students and professors to join in the special flight TG104.

To reach sustained production of biofuels for aviation in Thailand, THAI will bring together organizations and businesses such as petroleum producers, research firms, educational institutions, aircraft and engine manufacturers, and different government bodies affiliated with the aviation industry to take part in the development. This project called "Sustainable Biofuels Development for Aviation Industry" aims to create both demand and supply, through clear national policies on biofuels, which can help to generate revenue in the agricultural sector. An important outcome is the potential for greater cooperation among the different aviation bodies at the national level for sound support and policies on sustained development of biofuels.

Mr. Ralph L. "Skip" Boyce, President of Boeing Southeast Asia, Boeing International Corporation, said that this flight which is part of THAI's "Sustainable Biofuels Development for Aviation Industry" project is an initiative that brings together different players in the industry; from aircraft to engine manufacturers, research companies, fuel producers, education institutions, government bodies, and the media. As an aircraft manufacturer, Boeing does more than just bring newer, more efficient products to its customers, such as the significantly more fuel efficient 787 which THAI will operate in the future. Working together with leading researchers and industries, Boeing is pioneering ways to develop biofuels and is committed to working with industry partners to find the means to a quieter, cleaner, and more cost effective flight experience for airline customers and their passengers.

Wing Commander Prajak Sajjasophon, Managing Director of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Public Company Limited, said that AEROTHAI supports THAI's biofuels efforts through air traffic control, flight operations plan and design, so that the first biofuels flight runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Best practices and expertise in aeronautical radio are implemented based AEROTHAI's experience with the "THAI Aspire Flight" which was conducted as a "perfect flight" to reduce global warming. During that flight, the best technology, processes, new flight operations techniques, and carbon dioxide emissions reduction were used to reflect THAI's "Travel Green" concept.

The following special procedures are used for "THAI's First Flight with Biofuels," as follows:

1. Use of "surface optimization," which is optimum ground handling at the airline that is implemented to decrease delays and reduce fuel waste during takeoff.
2. Use of "continuous climb," which involves gradual and steady climb, instead of change of height level.
3. Flying "direct routes" or by flying a direct flight path that is within closest proximity.
4. Use of "continuous descent operation" (CDO), which is gradual descent at a regular pace while landing at the airport. This makes the flight more effective, modern, comfortable, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly.

THAI is cooperating with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in working towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 5% by the year 2020, and equivalent to zero carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2057. THAI is proud be the first airline in Asia to operate the commercial passenger domestic flight using biofuels, based on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy that focuses on "Travel Green".

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