JetBlue announced plans to speed up its transition to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with an offtake agreement with SG Preston, a leading bioenergy developer. With the addition of this SG Preston agreement to its previous SAF commitments, JetBlue is well ahead of pace on its target to convert 10 percent of its total fuel usage to SAF on a blended basis by 2030. The airline will reach nearly 8% SAF usage by the end of 2023 when delivery of SAF under this agreement is expected.
This deal is expected to bring the first large-scale volume of domestically produced SAF for a commercial airline to New York’s metropolitan airports. JetBlue will convert 30% of its fuel buy across JFK, LGA and EWR from traditional Jet-A fuel to SAF, which is expected to reduce emissions by an estimated 80% per gallon of neat SAF, compared to traditional petroleum-based fuels.
Targeting a start in 2023 and continuing over a 10-year period, SG Preston will deliver at least 670 million gallons of blended SAF to JetBlue to fuel its flight operations at JFK, LGA and EWR, helping JetBlue avoid approximately 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. JetBlue expects to invest more than $1 billion in purchasing SAF over the term of this agreement, at a price competitive to traditional Jet-A fuel, with no expected material impact to the airline’s total fuel costs.
“We are well past the point of vague climate commitments and corporate strategies. Earlier this year, we set specific, dated, and aggressive emissions targets. And now we are physically changing the fuel in our aircraft to meet these commitments,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue. “At JetBlue, we’re heavily investing in SAF because we see it as our most promising means of rapidly and directly reducing aircraft emissions in the near-term. With this expanded agreement with SG Preston, nearly eight percent of JetBlue’s total fuel use will be SAF, putting us well ahead of pace in reaching our goal of 10 percent SAF usage by 2030.”
Sustainable aviation fuel is jet fuel produced from biological resources that can be replenished rapidly and without impacting food supply. Compared to traditional petroleum-based Jet-A fuel, renewable options can significantly reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants such as particulate matter and sulfur oxides. SAF is functionally equivalent to conventional Jet-A fuel, posing no discernible difference in safety or performance. The fuel is fully compatible with existing jet engine technology and fuel distribution infrastructure when blended with fossil jet fuel, and is tested and transported the same way as regular Jet-A fuel.
SG Preston has made significant progress on a new facility in the Northeast to produce SAF at a large scale. SG Preston’s HEFA- (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids) based renewable jet fuel will be sustainably produced from waste fats, oils, greases, and non-food oilseeds. The fuel is expected to receive sustainability certification from ISCC, an independent, global certification body for sustainability and carbon reduction. SG Preston’s process utilizes industry-leading refining process technology, which has been FAA-approved for commercial flying since 2011.
JetBlue’s Commitment To Grow Sustainably In New York
New York is JetBlue’s home and where more than 7,000 of its crewmembers live and work. The airline is experiencing significant growth in New York, and furthering plans to substantially increase flying and bring more low fares and jobs to JFK, LGA and EWR as part of its Northeast Alliance with American Airlines. As JetBlue increases its presence and brings more air service to the region’s three airports, it is more important than ever to grow sustainably.
With a focus on more sustainable operations, JetBlue was recently selected for a grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s transportation electrification initiative for electric ground service equipment (eGSE) at EWR. With this grant, JetBlue will convert 38 ground service vehicles to electric, and install 16 dual-port charging stations, with additional support from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Following this conversion and one in process at Boston Logan International Airport, JetBlue will have converted 39 percent of these three vehicle types to electric. This is significant progress towards JetBlue’s eGSE goal to convert 40 percent of its bag tugs, belt loaders, and pushbacks network wide to electric by 2025, and 50 percent by 2030.
Additionally, JetBlue is making significant updates to T5 by upgrading the entire terminal to LED lighting solutions. The T5 upgrades will reduce JetBlue’s lighting-related energy use by approximately 66%, based on current usage. The project will have a significant impact, saving more than 2.1 million kWh annually, while improving aesthetics, lowering energy costs and reducing the terminal’s carbon footprint.