United Airlines has announced plans to ramp up its use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) this year.

The US carrier will begin using an SAF blend on flights departing San Francisco International airport, and has similar plans for London Heathrow later this year.

United says that the move could see it use ten million gallons of SAF in 2023 – about three times more than last year and ten times more than in 2019.

The airline has so far invested in the future production of over five billion gallons of SAF, which it says is more than any other carrier. Earlier this year it created an investment fund to scale up the supply of sustainable aviation fuel.

United Airlines launches investment fund for sustainable aviation fuel

United has used SAF blends at Los Angeles International airport since 2016, and Amsterdam Schiphol since 2022.

The carrier said that the SAF used on United’s flights “will be paid for in part through the company’s Eco-Skies Alliance, an innovative programme designed for participating companies to work together to share the ‘green premium’ or the cost associated with purchasing lower emission fuels”.

The programme currently has 24 participants, including Audi, Bank of America and Cisco.

Commenting on the news Lauren Riley, United’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said:

“It’s remarkable to see that in just a few years United has exponentially increased its SAF use. While ten million gallons of SAF in 2023 represents a fraction of what we need, we have also made big investments in producers that are using everything from ethanol to algae, to CO2, to help increase our available future supply.

“We believe these investments, along with our continued collaboration with policymakers, cross-industry businesses, and other airlines will help us scale this brand-new industry to achieve comparable success to solar and wind.”

For our recent feature on the future of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, see:

Sustainable Aviation Fuel: In the pipeline