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US airline JetBlue commits to carbon offsetting and sustainable aviation fuel

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JetBlue has announced plans to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from jet fuel for all domestic flights from July 2020, becoming the first major US airline to take this step towards reducing its carbon footprint.

The airline also plans to start flying with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from mid-2020 on flights from San Francisco International Airport in the US.

The new efforts build on JetBlue’s existing programmes, which include investments in fuel-saving technologies and aircraft, as well as advocating for a more fuel-efficient air traffic control system that would reduce emissions from flying.

“Air travel connects people and cultures, and supports a global economy, yet we must act to limit this critical industry’s contributions to climate change,” said Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue. “We reduce where we can and offset where we can’t. By offsetting all of our domestic flying, we’re preparing our business for the lower-carbon economy that aviation – and all sectors – must plan for.”

JetBlue will continue to partner with Carbonfund.org, a US non-profit carbon reduction and climate solutions organisation. Since 2008, the airline has offset over 2.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions under this partnership. It has since teamed up with new partners EcoAct and South Pole, and expects to offset an additional 15-17 billion pounds of emissions per year.

“The airline industry is one of the few industries that has collectively committed to an international emissions reduction goal,” added Hayes. “Air travel brings so much good to the world and JetBlue has always been about making our essential industry better. Carbon offsetting is a bridge to, not a silver bullet for, a lower carbon future. Reducing and mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions is a fundamental aspect of our business plan and our mission to inspire humanity.”

In addition to its commitment to carbon offsetting, JetBlue has agreed to purchase SAF from renewable fuels producer Neste from 2020.

Neste’s MY Renewable Jet Fuel is produced from 100% waste and residue raw materials, and has an 80% smaller lifecycle carbon footprint compared to traditional fossil jet fuel. The biofuel is fully compatible with JetBlue’s existing jet engine technology and fuel distribution infrastructure when blended with fossil jet fuel.

The airline will continue to explore additional SAF options and views the biofuel as a critical part of the industry’s transition to a lower-carbon model.