News has emerged that major U.S airline United Airlines has signed a new sustainable aviation fuel agreement with Neste. 

Working towards sustainable flying

This latest agreement is a part of many moves made by the aviation industry so far this year in relation to sustainable flying and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This helps the carrier towards its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Neste is a Finnish-based oil refining and marketing company. The website explains Neste’s ‘MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel’ as “a today solution, commercially available and in use worldwide.” Neste’s ‘MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel’ can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to typical A1 jet fuel. 

Neste produces 100,000 tons of SAF and production plans to achieve heavy growth, produce to 1.5 million tons annually by the end of 2023. Neste is also entering into “bold, new partnerships” to increase the global availability of SAF. Clearly, the latest agreement with United is one of those bold partnerships.

Neste SAF
Pictured: SAF being delivered to Zurich Airport in January 2020 for the World Economic Forum. This was the first time SAF was available in Switzerland. | © neste.com

United seems to enjoy hitting milestones related to making its operations more sustainable. 

This partnership makes United the first U.S carrier to sign an international agreement related to SAF. In December last year, United became the first commercial airline to fly an aircraft running entirely on SAF

The partnership between United and Neste will last until mid-2025. Over the three years, Neste will provide United with 52.5 million gallons of SAF, primarily at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, with the options to provide from other global airports in the future. 

In the first year of the agreement, Neste will supply 2.5 mullion gallons of SAF in Amsterdam to the Chicago-based carrier. 

United’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Lauren Riley, spoke following the announcement of the new agreement:

“Reducing carbon emissions from the fuel is the fastest way United will reach our 100% green goal by 2050. As the airline that has invested more than any other airline in sustainable fuel production, it makes sense to expand our network of partners internationally with a leading company like Neste.”

Thorsten Lange, Neste’s Executive Vice President of Renewable Aviation, spoke of the company’s excitement about the partnership:

“We’re excited to be partnering with United in this milestone purchase agreement and make our SAF available to United, also an industry leader in SAF investments. Our global, fast-growing SAF production and supply chain supports airlines and their customers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Neste is committed to helping aviation transition to a more sustainable future, and we look forward to expanding our cooperation with United.”

In order for United to achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, it is likely that there will be even further collaboration with Neste beyond 2025. 

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