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U.S. Aviation Initiatives Celebrated at APEC Meeting in San Francisco

Moves toward the broader use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) took center stage at APEC meeting.

A United Boeing 787 over the runway in Amsterdam. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

The civil aviation industry’s goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 took another step forward this week at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting in San Francisco. Boeing, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched ‘an initiative to catalyze the development and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) among APEC member countries. Boeing, the DOT and the FAA will sponsor the initiative in APEC’s Transportation Working Group

Chris Raymond, Boeing’s Chief Sustainability Officer said: “Industry studies and data tell us that SAF is essential to meet aviation’s net zero commitment, but we need more of it. This initiative helps deepen the partnerships that we have had for years with several countries to advance SAF. We will foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among APEC economies, all in pursuit of a safe, and more sustainable aviation future.”

According to Boeing, ‘SAF certified for use today can reduce lifecycle CO2 up to 85 percent and holds the greatest potential to reduce aviation’s emissions over the next 30 years.’  The target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 was set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). However, one of the challenges airlines have faced is the cost and access to SAF with the fuel only accounting for 0.1% of current global jet fuel demand.

Touted by the White House

The project was one of a number of initiatives touted by the White House as contributing over $50 billion of investments into APEC economies. With U.S. businesses being the largest source of foreign direct investment in APEC economies the Biden administration cited other aviation initiatives as contributing to the success of the region. These included United Airlines’ network expansion in the South Pacific as the largest in aviation history and Flexport, in partnership with CHOOOSE, launching an aviation decarbonization solution. United Airlines was also celebrated for its transport of humanitarian aid in the APEC region.

United’s network expansion in 2023 resulted in an increase of 40 percent more flights to Australia and New Zealand from the U.S. Last month the airline started flying on one of its Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand’s main routes, Auckland to Los Angeles (LAX). From Nov. 29, Brisbane, Australia will gain a connection to LAX and in December United will become the only carrier to fly from LAX to Christchurch (CHC), the largest city in New Zealand’s South Island, a route that Air New Zealand last flew in 2006. This will bring to 66 the total number of United flights in the Northern Winter schedule from the U.S. to Australia and New Zealand.

The carrier also added new non-stop flights to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, and Manila and resumed services between Beijing and San Francisco (SFO). The White House also announced that due to government engagement with China, United would be able to increase services to Shanghai from SFO.

John Flett


  • John Flett

    John has always had a passion for aviation and through a career with Air New Zealand has gained a strong understanding of aviation operations and the strategic nature of the industry. During his career with the airline, John held multiple leadership roles and was involved in projects such as the introduction of both the 777-200 and -300 type aircraft and the development of the IFE for the 777-300. He was also part of a small team who created and published the internal communications magazines for Air New Zealand’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff balancing a mix of corporate and social content. John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management. John is currently the course director of an undergraduate commercial pilot training programme at a leading London university. In addition he is contracted as an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.

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