US-based low-cost airline JetBlue Airways is fast-tracking its transition to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through a ten-year offtake agreement with bioenergy developer SG Preston.

The move is said to bring the ‘first large-scale volume of domestically produced SAF for a commercial airline’ to metropolitan airports in New York.

Going forward, JetBlue plans to shift 30% of its fuel purchase from traditional Jet-A fuel to SAF at John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

According to the agreement, the airline plans to invest more than $1bn for the purchase of SAF.

This is said to be the airline’s largest single jet fuel contract. With the new agreement, JetBlue is increasing its previous SAF commitment with SG Preston, which was first announced in 2016.

The contract helps the American low-cost airline accelerate its pace towards converting 10% of its total fuel usage to SAF on a blended basis by 2030.

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The first SAF delivery is expected by the end of 2023 and at that time JetBlue is estimated to reach nearly 8% SAF usage.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said: “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.

“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 8% of JetBlue’s total fuel use will be SAF, putting us well ahead of pace in reaching our goal of 10% SAF usage by 2030.”

The transition is estimated to reduce 80% emissions per gallon of neat SAF, compared to traditional petroleum-based fuels.

According to the agreement, which begins in 2023, SG Preston is set to supply at least 670 million gallons of blended SAF to JetBlue to fuel its flight operations at JFK, LGA and EWR airports while helping the airline offset nearly 1.5 million metric tonnes (Mmt) of carbon emissions.

SG Preston CEO Randy Delbert Letang said: “The SG Preston-JetBlue relationship is the blueprint for a balanced partnership designed to achieve both the airline’s and global aviation’s sustainability and pricing goals.”