United Airlines joins sustainable aviation fuel users group

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CHICAGO, Ill. – United Airlines today announced it further strengthened its commitment to sustainability and the environment by joining the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), an industry working group whose objective is to accelerate the development and commercialization of aviation biofuels.

“We are excited to collaborate with other industry leaders in our shared quest to advance sustainable biofuels,” said Jimmy Samartzis, managing director of Global Environmental Affairs and Sustainability for United. “We will all benefit from our collective work to find solutions to make alternative fuel available at commercial scale and secure a sustainable future for aviation.”

Collectively, the members of SAFUG represent approximately 32 percent of commercial aviation fuel demand. When joining SAFUG, United Airlines signed a pledge to pursue the advancement of drop-in biofuels that achieve important sustainability criteria, work with leading organizations to achieve biofuel certification standards, and take actions to enable commercial use of aviation biofuels.

United Airlines is a leader in aviation biofuels, operating the first U.S. commercial flight powered by advanced biofuels in November 2011, following historic test and demonstration flights in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The company also signed letters of intent to negotiate the purchase of more than 50 million gallons of sustainable biofuels.

United is committed to the environment through its Eco-Skies program, which is designed to make a positive impact on the environment—in the air, on the ground, at its facilities, with business partners and across communities. Eco-Skies highlights include:

The airline’s investments in modern, fuel-efficient aircraft and equipment have resulted in a 32 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

United is further modernizing its fleet with orders for more than 270 new aircraft including 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 100 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, which will deliver a significant improvement in fuel efficiency.

More than 300 aircraft in United’s mainline operations are equipped with winglets that deliver up to a 5 percent reduction in emissions and noise.

More than 3,600 ground support equipment vehicles, or approximately 26 percent of our fleet of ground support equipment, are electric or alternatively fueled.

During the last five years, United recycled more than 20 million pounds of cans, paper and plastic items from waste generated in flight and at its facilities.

Eco-Teams, comprised of cross-divisional representatives, are at every hub and major maintenance facility.

About the author


Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.