United Operates Passenger Flight Using 100% Sustainable Fuel

By Paul Riegler on 1 December 2021
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A Boeing 737 Max in United livery

United Airlines operated what it termed the aviation industry’s first-ever passenger flight that used 100% petroleum-based sustainable aviation fuel.

The Boeing 737 Max departed Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Wednesday morning with over 100 passengers on board.  The passenger list included the airline’s CEO, Scott Kirby.

“Today’s SAF flight is not only a significant milestone for efforts to decarbonize our industry, but when combined with the surge in commitments to produce and purchase alternative fuels, we’re demonstrating the scalable and impactful way companies can join together and play a role in addressing the biggest challenge of our lifetimes,” Kirby said in a statement before take-off.

The flight was operated in partnership with Boeing.  The 737 had 500 gallons of SAF from North American biofuel producer World Energy in one engine and 500 gallons of conventional jet fuel in the other.

United said that it wanted to demonstrate that there are no operational differences between the SAF and conventional jet fuel, although U.S. regulations only permit airlines to use a maximum of 50% SAF on a flight.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)


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