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Alaska Airlines Aiming to Advance Low-Carbon Aviation Through Corporate Partnerships, Shared Learning

New program expands first-in-the-US agreement with corporate partners to reduce business travel emissions through sustainable aviation fuels.

Alaska Airlines has launched a program to engage its corporate customers in the decarbonization journey through the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) credits and opportunities to improve the sustainability of business travel, including through use of SAF. The program builds on a first-in-the-US program launched with Microsoft in 2020 to reduce corporate business travel emissions through corporate partnerships.

“Launching this program is another step toward our net-zero goal and an important step to bringing SAF to scale,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, SVP of Public Affairs and Sustainability at Alaska Airlines. “While SAF is imperative to aviation’s decarbonization journey, there are multiple barriers we must overcome to make SAF commercially viable at scale. We believe these barriers are best addressed when we work together within the aviation community and across sectors. Our goals with this program are to support our customers’ sustainability goals by providing SAF credits, to continue increasing awareness of the barriers and opportunities to advancing SAF, and to leverage the knowledge of this growing community to accelerate our collective progress.”

Last year, Alaska announced a commitment and five-part roadmap to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2040, citing SAF as the most significant opportunity to reduce carbon emissions over the next few decades. Its new program launches with participation from Microsoft, Boeing and Washington State University (WSU). Microsoft has also committed to reducing the scope 3 emissions of their business travel with Alaska. Program participants will further deepen the experience with pilot book and claim systems and build upon those efforts to advance awareness and education on sustainable travel topics among all corporate customers.

“We are proud to build on our long-standing partnership with Alaska, along with other corporate and academic leaders like Microsoft and WSU, to help catalyze the scaling of sustainable aviation fuel,” said Sheila Remes, VP of Environmental Sustainability at Boeing. “We will need a 700-1,000 times increase in the amount of SAF if we are to meet the industry’s commitment to net zero by 2050; and partnerships and new ideas like these are critical to meeting that goal.”

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Alaska’s program includes Boeing and WSU as aviation and academic value chain partners to share knowledge and advancements in sustainable business travel with corporate participants. All participants will collaborate to advance sustainability in business travel, increase education and awareness, and identify and act on opportunities for collective action.

“WSU has long been a national leader in climate and sustainability research, including in the development and adoption of SAF,” said Kirk Schulz, president of WSU. “We look forward to supporting this coalition of forward-looking companies committed to decarbonizing air travel.”

SAF is currently available in volumes amounting to less than one percent of total fuel use but is a safe, certified fuel that meets all jet fuel standards and can reduce carbon emissions by as much as 80 percent on a lifecycle basis. Through the program, Alaska aims to expand understanding and action to address some of the key barriers to scaling SAF production such as feedstock accessibility, facilities, transportation and storage, pricing, engine infrastructure, and demand from operations and customers.

For its part, Microsoft and its Climate Innovation Fund are also propelling the growth of SAFs — most recently through a $50M cash infusion to LanzaJet for construction of the world’s first alcohol-to-jet fuel SAF production plant, which will enable LanzaJet to bring lower-cost SAFs and renewable diesel to the global market.