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Airline Lobbying Group Praises New Sustainable Aviation Fuel Pathway

A United Airlines 737-900 featuring the carrier’s eco skies livery, a United program committed to the environment. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Aviation has long been the target of climate advocates who say that the industry, which contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change fears, has not taken enough precedent to reduce emissions and fight the climate crisis. 

Now, it will be easier for airlines to cut their emissions with an addition to ASTM International’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) specification, D7566, which will further the availability and use of SAF to and by U.S. Airlines. Airlines for America (A4A), the largest industry advocacy group in the U.S., has applauded the move and is welcoming the possibility that emissions can be slashed going forward, Business Insider reports.

“Even as the U.S. airlines work to address the COVID-19 crisis and aid in our national and global recovery, we remain committed to achieving our aggressive climate and sustainability goals. The increased production and use of sustainable fuels is a key pillar of our efforts,” said Nancy Young, A4A Vice President for Environmental Affairs. “The approval of this new pathway provides yet another avenue for the production of SAF. The more pathways there are, the more SAF that can be produced and ultimately provided to airlines for use in our aircraft.”

The new development, dubbed Annex A7, lays out guidelines for the production and use of synthesized paraffinic kerosene made from hydro processed hydrocarbons, esters and fatty acids (HC-HEFA-SPK). HC-HEFA-SPK may be blended at up to 10% by volume with conventional jet fuel.

Annex A7, the seventh approved pathway for the production, was the first to receive expedited review under ASTM International’s “fast track” review process.

“Although the U.S. airlines represent only 2 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, we are committed to continuing to reduce that carbon footprint. A4A commends ASTM International, FAA, the airframe and engine manufacturers, the U.S. military, jet fuel producers and our entire CAAFI team for completing the review and approval of this new SAF pathway under rigorous expedited protocols. Advancing the commercialization and deployment of SAF will help the aviation industry meet its emissions reduction goals, while diversifying fuel supply and enhancing energy security,” Young added.

The U.S. aviation industry has set a goal to slash its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 as compared with 2005 emissions. The industry has committed to carbon-neutral growth in international commercial aviation beginning in 2020, per AirlinesFlyGreen.

ASTM International is a forum for the development of relevant, quality technical standards for materials, products, systems, services, and more used around the world.

A4A members include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and UPS. Additionally, Air Canada is an associate member. A4A advocates for airlines in the United States, working with industry stakeholders, federal agencies, the Administration, Congress, labor and other groups to improve aviation for the American public.

John McDermott


  • John McDermott

    John McDermott is a student at Northwestern University. He is also a student pilot with hopes of flying for the airlines. A self-proclaimed "avgeek," John will rave about aviation at length to whoever will listen, and he is keen to call out any airplane he sees, whether or not anyone around him cares about flying at all. John previously worked as a Journalist and Editor-In-Chief at Aeronautics Online Aviation News and Media. In his spare time, John enjoys running, photography, and watching planes approach Chicago O'Hare from over Lake Michigan.

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