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United Airlines today was set to make aviation history.
The carrier will be the first commercial airline to operate a flight carrying passengers using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel.
Calling it a "turning point in the industry's effort to combat climate change," the flight with 100 customers on board was to fly from United's hub in Chicago to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.
"United continues to lead from the front when it comes to climate change action," United CEO Scott Kirby, who was scheduled to be onboard today's historic SAF flight, said in a statement. "Today's SAF flight is not only a significant milestone for efforts to decarbonize our industry, but when combined with the surge in commitments to produce and purchase alternative fuels, we're demonstrating the scalable and impactful way companies can join together and play a role in addressing the biggest challenge of our lifetimes."
Virtually all airlines have made a commitment to using SAF going forward.
The demonstration flight will be on a new United 737 MAX 8 manufactured by Boeing Co. It will use 500 gallons of SAF in one engine and the same amount of conventional jet fuel in the other engine. The mix of fuels was to further prove there are no operational differences between the two and to set the stage for more scalable uses of SAF by all airlines in the future.
"Boeing is proud to support United on this historic event as we work together to make aviation more sustainable," said Ihssane Mounir, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Boeing Company. "As an industry, we are committed to addressing climate change, and sustainable aviation fuels are the most measurable solution to reduce aviation carbon emissions in the coming decades. No one entity can decarbonize aviation alone and it will require partnerships like this to ensure aviation is safe and sustainable for future generations."
World Energy - the world's first and North America's only commercial SAF producer - provided the alternative fuel.
Rich Thomaselli has written for TravelPulse since 2014 and has been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. His work has...
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