Jetblue is the first US airline to pledge to offset all the carbon produced by its domestic flights starting in July 2020.
To do this, it has partnered with a several companies which offer carbon offsets, including Carbonfund, EcoAct and Southpole, which could offset an additional 15 – 17 billion pounds of CO2 each year,
JetBlue also has partnered with renewables firm Neste to use sustainable aviation fuel on flights out of San Francisco, beginning mid-2020.
Neste’s sustainable aviation fuel has a carbon footprint that is around 80% smaller than that produced by traditional kerosene. It is already being used by European airlines, including Lufthansa and KLM, but JetBlue is the first to partner with the Finnish fuel company in the US.
The very first airline test-flight with biofuel took place in 2008. Virgin Atlantic flew a Boeing 747 from London to Amsterdam with one tank filled with a fuel blend of 20% coconut and babassu oil, according to the airline website SimpleFlying
The first commercial flight using bio-fuel was in 2011, when KLM carried 171 passengers from Amsterdam to Paris on a 737 partially powered by waste vegetable oil.
Despite COVID-19, which has crippled the airline industry over the last few months, and put many projects on the back-burner, JetBlue intends to move forward with its biofuel program.
“I think there will continue to be a very strong focus on sustainability. While it may not be at the forefront right this moment, because there are so many other things going on, our focus continues to be on reducing emissions where we can and offsetting where we can,” Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue President and COO, said in an interview for World Aviation Festival.
“We have a very comprehensive program, and we are completely committed to delivering on that. Things will change; there will be a vaccine, or there will be a therapeutic treatment, and what we want to make sure is that we don’t lose several years of progress around sustainability … so we continue to make sure we make progress there, so that when we do emerge, our plan for sustainability is intact,” she added.
JetBlue has estimated that newer and longr-range A220 planes will lower its operating costs by 29% on a per-seat basis, thanks to a combination of 22% reduction in non-fuel expenses and an even larger 40% reduction in fuel costs.
That also will further reduce the airline’s carbon footprint.