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United to Triple SAF Use in 2023, Adds SAF on Flights at San Francisco Airport

United to Triple SAF Use in 2023, Adds SAF on Flights at San Francisco Airport

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Airline planning to use 10 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel in 2023 – about three times more than 2022 and 10 times more than in 2019

United also welcomes new corporate participants to its Eco-Skies Alliance program, who will contribute to the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel

United has purchased more SAF and expects to fly more miles using SAF this year than any airline

United announced that it will begin using a blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on departing flights from San Francisco International Airport and is planning to use a SAF blend later this year at London Heathrow Airport, which could put the airline on track to use approximately 10 million gallons in 2023, nearly three times more than 2022 and close to 10 times more than 2019.

“It’s remarkable to see that in just a few years United has exponentially increased its SAF use,” said United Chief Sustainability Officer Lauren Riley. “While 10 million gallons of SAF in 2023 represents a fraction of what we need, we have also made big investments in producers that are using everything from ethanol to algae, to CO2, to help increase our available future supply. We believe these investments, along with our continued collaboration with policymakers, cross-industry businesses, and other airlines will help us scale this brand-new industry to achieve comparable success to solar and wind.”

To date, United has invested in the future production of over five billion gallons of SAF – more than any airline – and as a result of today’s announcement, the carrier will fly more miles in 2023 than any airline. United has used SAF blends at Los Angeles International Airport since 2016 and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam since 2022 and continues to use SAF at those airports in 2023.

The SAF deliveries commenced at San Francisco Airport in April, with United receiving 1.5 million gallons of SAF for departing flights, the remainder of United’s SAF supply will be used at Los Angeles International Airport and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. London Heathrow Airport is expected to begin receiving deliveries of SAF later in 2023. Once the SAF is delivered to London Heathrow, it will mark the first time United would participate in London Heathrow’s SAF incentive program.

See related article: United Announces $15 Million Investment in Carbon Capture Company Svante

Eco-Skies Alliance Round 3

The SAF used on United’s flights will be paid for in part through the company’s Eco-Skies Alliance, an innovative program designed for participating companies to work together to share the “green premium” or the cost associated with purchasing lower emission fuels. Participating in United’s Eco-Skies Alliance provides its corporate customers with the opportunity to build transparency and enable true, certified SAF emissions reductions associated with travel of people or goods on United flights.

United’s Eco-Skies Alliance program was launched in April 2021 and has collectively contributed toward the purchase of nearly 15 million gallons of SAF. With its up to 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions on a lifecycle basis compared to conventional jet fuel, this is enough SAF to reduce approximately 150,000 metric tons of GHG emissions, or enough to fly passengers close to 1 billion miles. Including today’s newly announced participants, the program has 24 participants including:

The new participants include:

  • Audi
  • Bank of America
  • Cisco
  • Corporate Travel Management
  • DB Schenker
  • First Eagle Investments
  • Macquarie Group
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific

The SAF that United is using today in San Francisco and Amsterdam is provided by Neste. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel is produced from sustainably sourced, 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials, including used cooking oil and animal fat waste. Using Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% over the fuel’s life cycle, compared to using conventional jet fuel.

In the future, SAF could be made from other feedstocks, including household trash, forest waste, algae or compressed CO2. To date, United has invested in the future production of over 5 billion gallons of SAF – more than any airline.

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