JetBlue Applauds the U.S. Return to the Paris Agreement. Here’s How We’re Addressing Climate Change.

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At JetBlue, we recognize our planet is physically changing around us, and so are the expectations of our customers, crewmembers, investors, and society. We celebrate as the U.S. rejoins the Paris Agreement. This is a critical step toward meaningful action in addressing climate change.

Aviation is still an industry reliant on fossil fuels that contribute to a warming climate. We are working to change this. Our business is about connection. People love – and need – to travel, but no one likes the emissions that come with it today.  Our industry has already come together to establish voluntary, ambitious emissions-reduction targets including decreasing our emissions by 50% by 2050, and achieving carbon neutral growth based on 2019 levels. To achieve this, we’re collectively working to expand sustainable aviation fuels and fuel-efficient technologies and operations.

Aviation is one of the few industries with a global emissions reduction goal. In 2009, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) agreed on emissions goals to cap net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth) and reduce net aviation CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. To help reach these goals, in 2016 the members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in a historic agreement adopted a global market-based measure for aviation emissions. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) was created, aimed at stabilizing aviation’s net CO2 emissions while other emissions reduction measures such as emissions technology, sustainable aviation fuel, and operational improvements are pursued. That’s why, as part of the global industry, we are working to achieve carbon-neutral growth via carbon offsetting and emissions reductions.

DOING OUR PART

We’re preparing our business for a changing climate and world through industry-changing moves, including being the first US airline to commit to and achieve regular carbon neutral domestic flying. We have a clear plan to address these emissions today and going forward:

  1. Reduce climate-warming emissions where we can.
  2. Offset emissions where we cannot.
  3. Expand usage of sustainable aviation fuels that offer up to an 80% lower carbon footprint and help build up the sustainable aviation fuel market.
  4. Support industry-changing technologies such as electric aircraft for short hauls.

Our first step is to reduce climate-warming emissions where we safely can.  We operate a robust fuel savings strategy to avoid fuel burn in the first place. This strategy starts with our young, fuel-efficient fleet. We have:

  • Invested in 85 new Airbus A321neo aircraft that will improve fuel economy by 20%.
  • Achieved reductions in emissions on an intensity basis since 2015, and improved 2.2% per ASM from 2018 to 2019.
  • Will introduce 70 Airbus A220s to replace older aircraft, reducing emissions by about 40% per seat.

We are also able to reduce our emissions directly with the use of sustainable aviation fuel. In July 2020, we started operating with a mixture of traditional and sustainable aviation fuel on flights out of San Francisco International Airport. As an alternative to conventional jet-A fuel, sustainable aviation fuel is made from renewable resources such as plants and waste materials. These fuels are well-tested, can drop into existing aircraft engines with no modifications required, and introduce no changes in safety or performance. SAF reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80% per gallon of neat fuel on these routes, compared to our traditional jet fuel.

In July 2020, we began to voluntarily offset CO2 emissions on all of our domestic flights, making us the first US airline to do so. We will ramp up to offset more than 15-17 billion pounds of CO2 emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from the road a year. We partner with three carbon offsetting experts to help source and ensure we are purchasing high quality, certified credits.

We are continuing to look forward. Our subsidiary JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV) invests in and partners with early-stage startups improving travel and hospitality. The team explores advanced methods of measuring and reducing emissions, technologies that improve environmental protections and encourage sustainable tourism, and game-changing transportation powered by alternative propulsion systems.

LOOKING FORWARD

While we’re proud of what we have already accomplished and the commitments we have upheld, in light of our nation’s most recent climate commitments we’re energized to continue to innovate and find new means of decarbonizing our industry.

Today, we continue to innovate and use the best available tools at our disposal to mitigate our impact on the environment and our role in the global climate crisis. We continue to work with other leaders in our industry – airlines, aircraft manufacturers, regulators, and political advocacy groups – to ensure we align with best practice and develop the climate action tools we need as a collective industry.