Alaska Airlines to run U.S. flights on biofuel
By Erik Siemers
Alaska Airlines will fly 75 commercial flights in the next two weeks using biofuel made from cooking oil.
Alaska Airlines starting Wednesday will fly 75 commercial passenger flights in the U.S. powered by a biofuel blend made from cooking oil.
The Seattle-based air carrier -- which, along with sister carrier Horizon Air, is the biggest airline at Portland International Airport -- will run a circuit of flights between Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Portland over the next two weeks using the 20 percent cooking fuel-sourced biofuel blend.
Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK) CEO Bill Ayers called it a "historic week for U.S. aviation."
"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," Ayers said in a news release. "What we need is an adequate, affordable and sustainable supply. To the biofuels industry, we say: If you build it, we will buy it."
Using the biofuel blend on just 75 flights is projected to reduce the airlines' greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, or 134 metric tons -- enough to take 26 cars off the road for a year, the airline said. If it were to power all its flights with the biofuel blend, the emissions savings would equal taking 64,000 cars off the road or powering 28,000 homes.
The fuel was supplied by aviation fuels broker SkyNRG and made by Dynamic Fuels, a joint-venture between Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) and Syntroleum Corp.
The commercial flights comes six months after the company joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest Initiative, a 10-month regional effort to explore opportunities for creating an aviation biofuels industry in the Pacific Northwest. Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Corp. (NYSE: BA) later followed by making the first transatlantic crossing of a commercial jetliner using biologically derived fuel.
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