United flies 100 passengers with SAF in ‘first for industry’

The airline flew the passengers from Chicago to Washington using 100% SAF in one of the engines

Big Zero Report 2023

United Airlines claims it has become the first airline to send a commercial carrier flight full of passengers powered partly by 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

United also claims it has agreements in place to purchase almost twice as much SAF as all other global airlines combined.

The SAF used for the flight is made with non-petroleum feedstocks and according to the airline, provides just as good a performance level as petroleum-based jet fuel but with a fraction of the carbon footprint.

The flight embarked with more than 100 passengers from Chicago to Washington with one engine full of 100% SAF and the other with conventional jet fuel.

Airlines are currently only allowed to fly using 50% SAF while the fuel continues to be tested and developed.

Scott Kirby CEO said: “The SAF flight is not only a significant milestone for efforts to decarbonise our industry but when combined with the surge in commitments to produce and purchase alternative fuels, we’re demonstrating the scalable and impactful way companies can join together and play a role in addressing the biggest challenge of our lifetimes.”

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