United Airlines Looks to Lead Transition to Sustainable Aviation Fuel Through Eco-Skies Alliance

By Thomas Price Tuesday, April 13, 2021

With several business industries making significant changes to become more environmentally sustainable, the aviation business is the latest to join this movement. Major air travel company United Airlines is leading the charge by making a push toward sustainable aviation fuel through the Eco-Skies Alliance. This alliance will help several companies reach major environmental goals across the aviation industry. The focus on sustainable aviation fuel, alongside the collaboration of Eco-Skies Alliance, should allow for United Airlines to reach the lofty climate and emissions goals the company has set for itself.

United Airlines airplane.

United Airlines and Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Through the launch of the Eco-Skies Alliance that sees the company join with several other businesses, the collective program has purchased approximately 3.4 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel. Considering the 80% reduction in overall emissions when using sustainable aviation fuel, the bulk purchase could eliminate around 31,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from ever being released. When translated into total air miles, the emissions reduction would be the equivalent of 220 million miles of flight.

United Airlines is joined in the Eco-Skies Alliance by several companies, including DHL, Nike, Palantir, Siemens, Autodesk, and several other businesses. These companies understand their own environmental impact due to the demand they place on the air travel business through logistics, shipping, and other needs, so the joint sustainable aviation fuel purchases is a way to help offset that impact.

United Airlines in particular has been the main driving force behind these efforts. The company is responsible for the single largest investment in sustainable aviation fuel in the entire air travel industry.

Another development has been that United Airlines now offers consumers a chance to join in on the program as well. United customers can now purchase their own sustainable aviation fuel through the company as the business taps in on the growing consumer enthusiasm for environmental responsibility.

United Airlines — Long-term Climate Pledge

The new Eco-Skies Alliance is part of a much larger ongoing climate pledge from United as the company plans to make their business 100% green by 2050. This will be achieved by reducing company greenhouse gas emissions by 100% before that deadline. Instead of doing so through carbon offset credits — as many other companies have done — United has made several investments to reduce emissions, including sustainable aviation fuel and direct carbon capture.

Through a multimillion-dollar investment in carbon capture business 1PointFive, United will complete the second prong of the two-part company plan to reach carbon neutrality. Other smaller goals include eliminating all non-recyclable plastic from the aircraft as well as replacing ground equipment with more efficient electric-powered alternatives.

When commenting on the Eco-Skies Alliance and sustainable aviation fuel, CEO of United Scott Kirby said, “While we've partnered with companies for years to help them offset their flight emissions, we applaud those participating in the Eco-Skies Alliance for recognizing the need to go beyond carbon offsets and support SAF-powered flying, which will lead to more affordable supply and ultimately, lower emissions. This is just the beginning. Our goal is to add more companies to the Eco-Skies Alliance program, purchase more SAF and work across industries to find other innovative paths towards decarbonization.”

About the Author


Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on entertainment and sports features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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