UNITED AIRLINES LAUNCHES FIRST-EVER JET BIOFUELS INITIATIVE AT LAX WITH FLIGHT TO SAN FRANCISCO
United is first airline, LAX first airport in U.S. to use commercial-scale biofuels;
United to buy up to 15 million gallons of lower-carbon fuel from AltAir refinery in Paramount
(Los Angeles, California – March 11, 2016) With a flight to San Francisco this morning, United Airlines and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) become the first airline and airport in the United States to use biofuels as part of their commitment and efforts to reduce pollution by using lower-carbon jet biofuel on a commercial scale.
The launch marks a milestone in the commercial aviation industry by moving beyond demonstration flights and test programs to the use of advanced biofuels for United’s ongoing operations. LAX will be the first airport in the U.S. – and the second globally, after Oslo Airport Gardermoen in Norway – with commercial flights using biofuels.
“Los Angeles is a global leader in sustainability, so it's no wonder that the first U.S. flights to use commercial-scale, renewable jet fuel are taking off from our airport,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “LAX and United Airlines have broken new ground with fuel that reduces carbon emissions by as much as 60 percent when compared to standard jet fuel. Today, we set a new standard for sustainability in aviation — an example I hope the rest of the industry will follow in the coming years.”
“Today’s historic launch of regularly scheduled service utilizing advanced biofuels represents a major next step in our ongoing commitment to operate sustainably and responsibly,” said Angela Foster-Rice, United’s managing director of environmental affairs and sustainability. “United is an industry leader in the advancement of alternative fuels, and, along with our partners at AltAir Paramount, we are taking action every day to minimize our impact on the environment and explore new ways to improve efficiency.”
“Investing in biofuels represents a significant next step in operating a more sustainable airport. It also represents an investment in creating clean-energy jobs in Southern California,” said Sean Burton, president of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners. “LAWA is providing its air-quality consultant expertise to evaluate benefits associated with the use of jet biofuel at LAX and will share our experience with other airports.
Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint said, “Today’s inaugural flight demonstrates LAWA’s commitment to be good neighbors and support efforts to encourage the airlines to study and promote the use of jet fuels that minimize air pollutant emissions from jet engines.”
United has agreed to purchase up to 15 million gallons of the sustainable biofuel over a three-year period from Paramount-based AltAir Fuels, a refiner of environmentally sustainable feedstocks to produce jet and diesel fuels. To highlight this achievement, United will operate flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco with the dedicated use of AltAir renewable fuel for two weeks, while integrating this fuel into its regular operations at the airport, where it will be dispensed through United’s pipe-and-hydrant system. After a few weeks, the biofuel deliveries will be blended into the general LAX fuel supply and used across all flights out of LAX.
AltAir’s biofuels meet the same stringent international fuel certification as conventional jet fuel and the Federal Aviation Administration has approved its use. It is considered a “drop in” fuel, so no infrastructure or aircraft engine modifications are needed.
The biofuel is refined from feedstock, such as agricultural wastes and/or non-edible natural oils, into low-carbon advanced biofuels through a process pioneered by Honeywell UOP. Current biofuels are less dense than traditional fossil fuels and must be blended to meet current aviation fuel standards. The AltAir fuel is blended at 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent traditional fuel.
United has operated at LAX since 1946, when United was among five airlines to begin commercial operations at LAX. In addition to its sustainability efforts in biofuels, United reports 70 percent of its ground equipment at LAX is powered by electricity. The airline is also currently undertaking a $573-million renovation of Terminals 7 and 8 that will refurbish virtually all of its public space and offer more of the conveniences and amenities that airport guests value. It will include new technology in an expansive, self-service ticketing lobby; an upgraded TSA security-screening checkpoint with additional lanes; new baggage-handling systems; and new technologies to provide a more efficient and sustainable built environment for airport guests. For more information on United’s commitment to environmental sustainability, visit www.united.com/ecoskies.
About United Airlines
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 342 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 20 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
LAX is the seventh busiest airport in the world and third in the United States. LAX served more than 74.9 million passengers in 2015. LAX offers 692 daily nonstop flights to 85 cities in the U.S. and 928 weekly nonstop flights to 67 cities in 34 countries on 59 commercial air carriers. LAX ranks 14th in the world and fifth in the U.S. in air cargo tonnage processed, with more than 2.1 million tons of air cargo valued at over $86.9 billion. An economic study in 2011 reported that operations at LAX generated 294,400 jobs in Los Angeles County with labor income of $13.6 billion and economic output of more than $39.7 billion. This activity added $2.5 billion to local and state revenues. LAX is part of a system of three Southern California airports – along with LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.
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