United Airlines operated an unprecedented flight Wednesday that will serve as a turning point in the industry’s effort to combat climate change: for the first time in aviation history, a commercial airline is flying a full passenger plane using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Also, the airline announced the second round of corporate participants in the Eco-Skies AllianceSM program to collectively contribute to the purchase of SAF.
“United continues to lead from the front when it comes to climate change action,” said United CEO Scott Kirby, who will fly onboard today’s historic SAF flight. “Today’s SAF flight is not only a significant milestone for efforts to decarbonize our industry, but when combined with the surge in commitments to produce and purchase alternative fuels, we’re demonstrating the scalable and impactful way companies can join together and play a role in addressing the biggest challenge of our lifetimes.”
The demonstration flight, which departed with more than 100 passengers from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and landed at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., was conducted on the airline’s new 737 MAX 8 and will use 500 gallons of PBS on one engine and the same amount of conventional jet fuel on the other engine to further demonstrate that there is no operational difference between the two and lay the groundwork for all airlines to use more PBS in the future. Currently, airlines are only allowed to use a maximum of 50% on-board PBS. The UAS used on this flight is ready for use and is compatible with existing aircraft fleets.
United is operating this unprecedented flight in partnership with Boeing, CFM International*, Virent – a subsidiary of Marathon – whose technology enables 100% drop-in SAF, and World Energy – the world’s first and North America’s only commercial SAF producer.
“Boeing is proud to support United on this historic event as we work together to make aviation more sustainable,” said Ihssane Mounir, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Boeing Company. “As an industry, we are committed to addressing climate change, and sustainable aviation fuels are the most measurable solution to reduce aviation carbon emissions in the coming decades. No one entity can decarbonize aviation alone and it will require partnerships like this to ensure aviation is safe and sustainable for future generations.”
Plataforma Informativa de Aviación Comercial líder en América Latina.