Your next cross-country flight, powered by the residue from your frying pan? Seattle-based Alaska Airlines will test biofuels on commercial flights starting this week, hoping to usher in a new, environmentally friendly era for jet fuel.
Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, will use a 20 percent blend of biofuel — made from used cooking oil — on selected flights between their home base of Seattle and Washington, D.C. and Portland, Ore., starting this Wednesday.
Biofuels have already been tested by airlines overseas, and Alaska says the blend it’s using meet “rigorous international safety and sustainability standards.”
“This is a historic week for U.S. aviation. The 75 flights that Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will fly over the next few weeks reflect our longstanding commitment to environmental responsibility and our belief that sustainable biofuels are key to aviation’s future,” says Alaska Air Group Chairman and CEO Bill Ayer in a news release announcing the program.
Ayer continued: “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. What we need is an adequate, affordable and sustainable supply. To the biofuels industry, we say: If you build it, we will buy it.”
Key will be the development of regional supply chains, and “that takes supportive government policies that encourage investment in the early stages of this emerging sector,” says Billy Glover, vice president for environment and aviation policy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.