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December 2, 2021

United Airlines runs first 100% SAF-fuelled commercial flight

The flight carrying more than 100 passengers departed from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

American air carrier United Airlines has operated the first-ever commercial aircraft using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in one of two engines.

The airline executed this initiative in collaboration with Boeing, CFM International, Virent and World Energy.

As part of the demonstration, the new United 737 MAX 8 carrying over 100 passengers departed from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and landed in Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport (DCA).

The flight used 500 gallons of SAF in one engine and carried the same amount of conventional jet fuel in the other engine.

This was done to validate that there are no operational variances between the two and to pave the road to the usage of SAF by all airlines in the coming days.

As of now, air carriers can deploy a maximum of 50% SAF on board.

Additionally, the American airline declared the second round of corporate participants in its Eco-Skies Alliance programme.

Launched in April 2021, this scheme intends to contribute to the purchase of SAF.

United Airlines has already signed purchase agreements to buy nearly twice as much SAF ‘as the known agreements of all other global airlines combined.’

Till now, United Airlines’ Eco-Skies Alliance programme has collectively contributed towards the procurement of over 7 million gallons of SAF during this year.

The programme encompasses around 30 participants including DHL Global Forwarding, HP and Nike.

Some of the new participants are American Family Insurance, Maersk, Microsoft, Visa, CWT, Meta, Biogen, Yusen Logistics and Zurich North America.

Recently, United Airlines selected Amazon Web Services as its preferred cloud provider.

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