Published by Todd Bush on May 4, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO, May 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- United today 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 airline3 – and as a result of today's announcement, the carrier will fly more miles in 2023 than any airline.4 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.
The SAF used on United's flights will be paid for in part through the company's Eco-Skies AllianceSM, 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:
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%5 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.6
The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act includes the largest governmental climate change investments in U.S. history - a new blender's tax credit specifically for SAF along with other critical incentives for clean energy and carbon capture – that will help spur an increase in SAF infrastructure and supply while lowering costs for SAF consumers.
The U.S. military currently uses nearly five billion gallons of jet fuel annually and the Department of Defense will use a jet fuel blend containing at least 10% SAF by 2028 because of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
And according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the country's vast feedstock resources are enough to meet the projected SAF demand of the entire U.S. aviation industry.
United was the first airline to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets. In addition to the Eco-Skies Alliance Program, United also established a venture fund – United Airlines Ventures – to identify and invest in companies and technologies that can decarbonize air travel and from this, recently created the UAV Sustainable Flight FundSM. These strategic investments include carbon capture, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft and air taxis. This year, United became the first U.S. airline to show customers an estimate of each flight's carbon footprint in their search.
At United, Good Leads The Way. With U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers, and is now the largest airline in the world as measured by available seat miles. For more about how to join the United team, please visit www.united.com/careers and more information about the company is at www.united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc., the parent company of United Airlines, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".
United Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Other Important Information
This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 relating to, among other things, plans and projections regarding the company's environmental, social or governance (ESG) goals, targets, commitments, strategies and initiatives and related business and stakeholder impacts. All statements that are not statements of historical facts are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on historical performance and current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about our future financial results, plans, objectives, goals, targets, commitments, strategies and initiatives and involve inherent risks, assumptions and uncertainties, known or unknown, including internal or external factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, that are difficult to predict, may be beyond our control and could cause our future financial results, plans, objectives, goals, targets, commitments, strategies and initiatives to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the statements. These risks, assumptions, uncertainties and other factors include, among others, any failure to meet stated ESG goals, targets, commitments, strategies and initiatives in the time frame expected or at all as a result of many factors, including changing societal, market, competitive, regulatory or stakeholder expectations and any delay or failure of any technology to be fully developed or become functional or marketable or to serve the purpose for which it was designed. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many risks and uncertainties that affect United's business and market, particularly those identified in the "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and "Risk Factors" sections in United's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, as updated by our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Risks and uncertainties related to United's environmental compliance, climate commitments and climate strategy are further described in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors of United's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022—"We are subject to many forms of environmental regulation and liability and risks associated with climate change and may incur substantial costs as a result. In addition, failure to achieve or demonstrate progress towards our climate goals may expose us to liability and reputational harm."
The statements included in this press release are made only as of the date of this press release and except as otherwise required by applicable law or regulation, United Airlines undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise. In particular, United Airlines reserves the right to change, amend, supplement or abandon some or all of the statements regarding goals, targets, commitments, strategies, initiatives, intentions and other statements from time to time without notice.
In addition, some of our disclosures in this press release are estimates or based on assumptions due to inherent measurement uncertainties. For example, United's statement that it has purchased more SAF than any other airline is based on publicly available future purchase agreements for SAF of certain airlines as of the date hereof.
1 United has invested in more SAF than any other airlines based on all publicly announced SAF offtake agreements
2 Statement based on available seat mile (ASM) metric, as determined based on publicly available information. Excludes SAF supplied under regulatory mandates.
3 Based on publicly announced airline offtake agreements for future purchases of SAF.
4 Statement based on available seat mile (ASM) metric, as determined based on publicly available information. Excludes SAF supplied under regulatory mandates.
5 When used in neat form (i.e. unblended) and calculated with established life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies, such as CORSIA methodology.
6 Based on publicly announced airline offtake agreements for future purchases of SAF.
SOURCE United Airlines
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