JetBlue Airways Corp. will buy $1 billion in sustainable aviation fuel from bioenergy company SG Preston, marking the first large-scale use of domestically produced SAF for a commercial carrier at New York’s metropolitan airports.
The deal puts the airline on a quicker pace to hit its target to convert 10% of its total fuel to blended SAF by 2030, it said. JetBlue
is doubling its previous SAF commitment with SG Preston, which was announced in 2016 as one of the largest SAF-purchase agreements in aviation history. The conversion will help JetBlue avoid approximately 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.
JetBlue said SAF, which is made from feedstocks such as used cooking oil and animal fat, will be mixed with traditional jet fuel at an estimated 30% blend, and will be used at John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.
“We are well past the point of vague climate commitments and corporate strategies. Earlier this year, we set specific, dated and aggressive emissions targets. And now we are physically changing the fuel in our aircraft to meet these commitments,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive.
Airlines have been under pressure from environmental groups and investors to reduce their large carbon footprint.
President Joe Biden said earlier this month his administration reached an agreement with the U.S. airline industry to cut aircraft greenhouse-gas emissions 20% by decade’s end. The administration also set a goal to replace all of today’s kerosene-based jet fuel with cleaner or “sustainable” fuel by 2050.
Climate-policy experts at the time pointed out that the targets are voluntary, and that robust government subsidies will be needed to offset the higher cost of sustainable fuel. It runs up to three times more expensive than regular fuel.
Rival carrier Delta Air Lines Inc.
said earlier this month it will set new emissions targets based on science-based criteria, bringing it closer to aligning its goals with those set by the Paris Agreement to hold global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. American Airlines
has also committed to the science-based criteria and has made investments to accelerate the development of SAF.
JetBlue’s stock is down 6.6% over the past three months, trimming its year-to-date gain to 7.7%. The S&P 500
is up 16% year to date.