Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair Jet Flies 1,450 Miles to Pick Up Risotto; AS PM FIGHTS POVERTY AND POLLUTION, BA FLIES PLANE ACROSS AFRICA ON MEAL TRIP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair Jet Flies 1,450 Miles to Pick Up Risotto; AS PM FIGHTS POVERTY AND POLLUTION, BA FLIES PLANE ACROSS AFRICA ON MEAL TRIP

Article excerpt

Byline: ISABEL OAKESHOTT

TONY BLAIR'S personal plane flew 1,450 miles across Africa to pick up a gourmet dinner, it emerged today.

The chartered British Airways jet made a round trip from Ethiopia to Kenya to collect the meal, which included asparagus mousse and prawn risotto.

It was served to the Prime Minister and his entourage as they returned to Britain from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where Mr Blair had chaired a meeting of his commission on the future of Africa.

Although Mr Blair was unaware of the plane's mission, environmentalactivists today called on him to condemn the trip or face accusations of hypocrisy - as climate change and African poverty were the key issues he was discussing in Ethiopia.

The BA jet, with only the crew on board, used thousands of gallons of fuel on the round trip to Nairobi, where BA has a base, to collect the specially prepared meal.

It had already been sent to Kenya from London on a normal flight.

BA said the trip had been necessary because it has no base in the Ethiopian capital, meaning the Boeing 777 had to go to the nearest BA airport to restock its galley.

Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale, a former adviser to Labour, said: "Mr Blair should have eaten Ethiopian food, sourced as locally as possible."

He added that the Prime Minister had to condemn the "waste" of fuel and the damage done to the environment for the sake of the dinner.

"He needs to say that this is totally unacceptable," he said.

"The more we fly, the more people will die from climate change - and Africa is in the front line." After the jet arrived in Nairobi, the crew was able to pick up fresh vegetables and beef for the meal, which also featured champagne and chocolate truffles.

It was served to those on board the seven-hour return f light from Ethiopia to Britain, which landed early this morning at Heathrow. …

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