United Airlines Ventures has boosted the investment power of its Sustainable Flight Fund to nearly $200 million and welcomed eight new corporate partners just five months after its launch.
This initiative aims to increase the supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through support for start-ups in the field. By collaborating with various companies and even allowing customers to contribute when booking flights, United Airlines is taking significant strides towards achieving its net-zero emissions goal by 2050.
Expanding Partnerships and Contributions
The Sustainable Flight Fund has now added partners such as American Express Global Business Travel, Boston Consulting Group, Hawaiian Airlines, and JetBlue Ventures to its existing partners, just to name a few. Alongside Air Canada, Boeing, GE Aerospace, JPMorgan Chase, and Honeywell, these corporations will invest in SAF technology and production start-ups identified by United. Moreover, customers can opt to contribute to the fund during flight bookings, with over $200,000 already raised from more than 60,000 United customers.
The Role of Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Sustainable aviation fuel is a viable alternative to conventional jet fuel, significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to air travel. United Airlines has already invested in the future production of over five billion gallons of SAF, and according to United Airlines, this level of production makes it a global leader in this regard.
By investing in various SAF feedstocks and technologies, such as used cooking oil, agricultural waste, and potential sources like household trash and forest waste, United aims to scale up the supply of SAF and foster a future of sustainable flight.
United Airlines Ventures President Michael Leskinen emphasized the importance of collaboration in the aviation industry’s sustainability efforts. While United cannot decarbonize the airline industry alone, its leadership and credibility in the space serve to rally others to join the cause. With an innovative approach that involves investing in groundbreaking technology and SAF producers, United, and its partners are hopeful to strengthen partnerships and collaboration for the sake of reducing GHG.
Consumer Awareness and Call to Action
Moreover, United Airlines aims to involve customers in the company’s sustainable initiatives.
Passengers booking through United have the option to contribute to the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, with contributions set at $1, $3.50, or $7.00. Demonstrating the potential impact of customer action at scale, the default contribution of $3.50 shows that collective efforts can make a significant difference in advancing SAF production.
Beyond the Sustainable Flight Fund, the airline has launched the Eco-Skies Alliance, a SAF purchasing program, and established United Airlines Ventures to invest in decarbonizing air travel through technologies like carbon capture, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft, and air taxis.