United Airlines has partnered with global firms including Nike Inc and Siemens AG in an “Eco-Skies Alliance” to finance use this year of about 3.4 million gallons of low-carbon, sustainable aviation fuel derived from trash. Though tiny compared with the 4.3 billion gallons of jet fuel that United consumed in 2019 prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount triples the roughly 1 million gallons of sustainable fuel it has used each year since 2016.
Airlines have used sustainable fuel since 2008 as part of efforts to reduce outright emissions, but so far this represents barely 1% of the fuel used worldwide, industry groups say. Chicago-based United named 11 of more than a dozen global partners for the plan but did not disclose the cost, or how much each would contribute.
Air transport accounts for 2%-3% of greenhouse gas emissions, the French aerospace association said on Tuesday. Environmental groups argue the sector’s overall contribution is higher. Partners include companies with corporate or cargo deals with United, like Nike, Siemens, Palantir and Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.