Today ( 01/12/21) United are operating an unprecedented flight 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 carrier will fly an aircraft full of passengers using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Also today, they announced the second round of corporate participants in their Eco-Skies AllianceSM program to collectively contribute towards the purchase of SAF.
The demonstration flight – departing with more than 100 passengers from Chicago's O'Hare and landing at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport – will be on a new 737 MAX 8 and use 500 gallons of SAF in one engine and the same amount of conventional jet fuel in the other engine to further prove there are no operational differences between the two and to set the stage for more scalable uses of SAF by all airlines in the future. Currently, airlines are only permitted to use a maximum of 50% SAF on board. The SAF used on today's flight is drop-in ready and compatible with existing aircraft fleets.
United’s Eco-Skies Alliance program was launched in April 2021 and now has collectively contributed toward the purchase of more than 7 million gallons of SAF this year alone. Including today's newly announced participants, the program has nearly 30 participants including companies like DHL Global Forwarding, HP Inc. and Nike.
The new participants include:
- American Family Insurance
- Bolloré Logistics
- Palo Alto Networks
- Yusen Logistics
- Zurich North America
Today's SAF flight and new Eco-Skies Alliance participants are among the latest accomplishments towards United's goal to be 100% green by reducing its GHG emissions 100% by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets.