JetBlue Accelerates Transition to Sustainable Aviation Fuel
JetBlue today 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 eight percent SAF usage by the end of 2023 when delivery of SAF under this agreement is expected. JetBlue is doubling its previous SAF commitment with SG Preston, which was first announced in 2016 as one of the largest SAF purchase agreements in aviation history.
JetBlue’s agreement with SG Preston also marks a major milestone for SAF in New York’s airports. 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 percent of its fuel buy across John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) from traditional Jet-A fuel to SAF (b), which is expected to reduce emissions by an estimated 80 percent 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. This marks the largest-ever announced near-term SAF deal for delivery in the Northeast and will be become the airline’s largest single jet fuel contract.
“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. Safety is JetBlue’s number one priority, and 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. This SAF will be blended with Jet-A fuel at an estimated 30 percent blend ratio before being transported to JFK, LGA, and EWR.
“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. The reality of achieving the US sustainability target of approximately 35 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel by 2050 is daunting. Engaging with, and addressing the concerns of all key stakeholders and contributors to the solution, is paramount to successfully reaching this target. JetBlue’s continued commitment to SG Preston’s development strategy illustrates continued confidence in our unique approach to this challenge. We’re honored by this demonstration of trust,” said Randy Delbert Letang, CEO of SG Preston.