Thirteen airlines, including Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, Horizon Airlines, Spirit Airlines and others, have come together in partnership with the Port of Seattle to develop sustainable aviation fuel, a low-carbon and sustainably produced biofuel alternative to jet fuel, that will be accessible to all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The goal approved by the Port of Seattle Commission in December 2017 details that a minimum 10 percent of sustainable jet fuel must be produced locally from sustainable sources within 10 years, rising to 50 percent by 2050.
Airlines at Sea-Tac Airport are projected to use about 700 million gallons of jet fuel per year. A 10 percent reduction would eliminate 70 million gallons of jet fuel, the equivalent of 682,500 metric tons of airlines’ greenhouse gas emissions according to the Port of Seattle. In addition to aviation biofuels, the work plan will also explore the use of other mechanisms that could contribute to carbon and air emission reductions, including technology, operations, infrastructure, and future aircraft technology.
Greater Seattle is well-positioned to lead this major step towards sustainability in the aerospace industry. According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, 59.8 percent of Washington’s foreign exports come from aerospace companies as of 2017. Home to more than 1,400 aerospace-related business establishments, the region is the world headquarters for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Alaska Airlines, headquartered in Greater Seattle and an industry leader in the usage of biofuel, was the leading U.S. airline on the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index and has been ranked #1 in fuel efficiency for 7 consecutive years by the International Council on Clean Transportation.
Around the world, international airlines are pledging to reduce their environmental impact through the development and usage of biofuel alternatives. The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG), a partnership of airlines including Qantas, Singapore Airlines, and more, is a pact between 28 global airlines to reduce aircraft greenhouse gas emissions through accelerating the development and commercialization of sustainable aviation fuel.