JetBlue secures world’s first sustainability-linked loan for airline industry

Global bank BNP Paribas has closed a sustainability-linked loan (SLL) with JetBlue Airways, through an amendment to its existing secured revolving credit facility (RCF). This is reportedly the first sustainability-linked RCF for the airline industry.

JetBlue has amended its existing $550 million (€506.4 million) RCF by including a ‘sustainability-linked’ provision, aligning the company’s strategic initiatives with its environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance goals.

“Our owners, many of whom are also crewmembers, want to see how ESG initiatives are connected to our financials,” explained Sophia Mendelsohn, chief sustainability officer for JetBlue. “As the first airline to accomplish this type of transaction, we are directly linking our commitment to addressing environmental and social issues with our bottom line. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but also understand we have more to do in reducing our carbon footprint and meeting the needs of our stakeholders.”

Earlier this year, JetBlue became the first US airline to announced that it would operate carbon neutral on all domestic flight by offsetting emissions form jet fuel. This will result in a reduction of 17 billion pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

The airline also plans to start flying with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on flights from San Francisco. The fuel, which has up to an 80% smaller carbon footprint than regular jet fuel, will help the airline achieve its sustainability goals.

“We couldn’t be happier to continue our partnership with JetBlue as the company progresses on its sustainability journey,” added Florence Pourchet, co-head of global banking for the Americas at BNP Paribas. “JetBlue’s SLL is just one element of the airline’s comprehensive ESG and sustainable finance strategy, which is incredible to see. As a leader in sustainable finance, BNP Paribas is dedicated to working with our corporate clients to identify tailored solutions that align with their specific efforts and commitments toward achieving their ESG goals.”

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