United Airlines Set To Spend $40 Million On Decarbonising Air Travel

Today United Airlines has been dishing out announcements at a media day in Chicago. One of these focuses on a large commitment to the environment with the carrier committing $40 million to decarbonizing air travel.

United Airlines, Decarbonising Aviation, Sustainable Fuels
United has announced a $40 million investment into decarbonizing aviation. Photo: United Airlines

Airlines are taking their impact on the environment very seriously as the global climate crisis becomes a huge talking point. Despite only being responsible for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, the aviation industry has become the face of carbon dioxide emissions. As such, airlines are showing that they take the issue seriously by rolling out a range of different schemes such as carbon offsetting.

United Investing $40 million

United Airlines today announced that it would be investing $40 million in decarbonizing air travel. These funds are on top of that already spent on environmentally friendly projects. The $40 million pledge made today will focus on carbon-friendly aviation fuels. Specifically, it will go towards “a new investment vehicle focused on accelerating the development of sustainable aviation fuels and other decarbonization technologies”.

Scott Kirby, United’s president, said of the investment “we can’t be content as a leading airline undergoing an evolution to adapt to climate change. We aspire to be the airline leading the revolution to fight climate change, and this new initiative will further empower us to reduce our impact on the environment and fly towards a more sustainable future.”

United Airlines, Decarbonising Aviation, Sustainable Fuels
The airline was the first airline to utilize split scimitar winglets. Photo: United Airlines

What else has United been doing?

United used the opportunity of its announcement to highlight a number of other things that the airline has achieved. Firstly, United claims to be the first airline in the world to use sustainable jet fuels on a regular basis.

United was also the first customer to use split scimitar winglets, on its aircraft, something which flyDubai are now beginning to adopt alongside Virgin Australia. The airline replaced plastic stirrers with alternates made from bamboo and has changed 40% of its ground vehicle fleet to running off of electric. This is among a $30 million investment in a sustainable fuel provider, in addition to some other initiatives.

What are other airlines doing?

We’ve also seen a number of announcements from other airlines concerning their environmental commitments. Earlier this year we saw Air France commit to carbon offsetting 100% of domestic flight bookings from January 2020.

United Airlines, Sustainable Jet Fuel, decarbonising aviation
British Airways’ owner has committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

This announcement was swiftly followed by a similar announcement from British Airways. However, BA’s owner IAG took it a step further by announcing that it aims to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This made IAG the first airline group to make such a pledge.

What do you make of United Airlines’ $40 million pledge towards decarbonizing aviation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!