Nov 7, 2011, Seattle, WA — Alaska Airlines will fly 75 commercial passenger flights in the United States powered by biofuel, starting this Wednesday.
By Scott Jamieson
flights signal aviation's next era, where sustainable biofuels can
provide a viable alternative to conventional fuel and enable airlines to
reduce their environmental impact.
Two maiden biofuel-powered
flights will leave Seattle on Nov. 9 for Washington, D.C., and Portland,
Ore. Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, will continue
to operate select flights between Seattle and the two cities over the
next few weeks using a 20 percent blend of sustainable biofuel made from
used cooking oil that meets rigorous international safety and
"This is a historic week for U.S.
aviation. The 75 flights that Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will fly
over the next few weeks reflect our longstanding commitment to
environmental responsibility and our belief that sustainable biofuels
are key to aviation's future," Alaska Air Group Chairman and CEO Bill
Ayer said. "Commercial airplanes are equipped and ready for biofuels.
They will enable us to fly cleaner, foster job growth in a new industry,
and can insulate airlines from the volatile price swings of
conventional fuel to help make air travel more economical. What we need
is an adequate, affordable and sustainable supply. To the biofuels
industry, we say: If you build it, we will buy it."
Group's fleet of Boeing 737s and Bombardier Q400s are one of the
youngest and most fuel-efficient among domestic airlines. Air Group has
also led the industry with a variety of environmental projects to fly
greener — from pioneering satellite-based navigation procedures to
onboard recycling. But industry leaders agree that biofuels represent a
critical element in cutting aviation's carbon footprint.
clearly needs a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels," said Boeing
Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy
Billy Glover. "In the U.S. and around the world, the industry is doing
all it can to support sustainable biofuel development and maintain
aviation's role in global economic growth. To make that happen we must
develop regional supply chains, and that takes supportive government
policies that encourage investment in the early stages of this emerging
Alaska Air Group estimates the 20 percent certified
biofuel blend it is using for the 75 flights will reduce greenhouse gas
emissions by an estimated 10 percent, or 134 metric tons, the equivalent
of taking 26 cars off the road for a year. If the company powered all
of its flights with a 20 percent biofuel blend for one year, the annual
emissions savings would represent the equivalent of taking nearly 64,000
cars off the road or providing electricity to 28,000 homes.
fuels are ready to be used in today's airplanes and that's an important
step forward," said Philippe Poutissou, vice president of marketing for
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. "Our industry already designs aircraft
that reduce the environmental footprint. We continue to strive for
sustainable solutions and greener skies."
The fuel was supplied
by SkyNRG, an aviation biofuels broker, and made by Dynamic Fuels, a
producer of next-generation renewable, synthetic fuels made from used
cooking oil. The synthetic high-performance airliner fuel made by
Dynamic Fuels — a $170 million joint-venture between Tyson Foods Inc.
(NYSE: TSN) and Syntroleum Corp. (NASDAQ: SYNM) — meets aviation and
military safety, sustainability and performance standards.
biofuels can be an economic driver in creating good jobs and a vital
part of America's long-term energy security," said Bob Ames, Tyson
Foods' vice president of renewable energy and member of the Dynamic
Fuels management committee. "However, government policies supporting
development are essential to ensure that the aviation biofuels industry
reaches its full potential and is able to compete against foreign
Alaska's commercial biofuel flights come six months after Air Group partnered in a strategic initiative called www. Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest
(SAFN), a 10-month regional stakeholder effort to explore the
feasibility, challenges and opportunities for creating an aviation
biofuels industry in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The study determined
the region has the diverse stocks for biofuels, delivery infrastructure
and political will needed to create a viable biofuels industry. There
currently is no supply of aviation biofuels in the Pacific Northwest.