United Airlines has signed an agreement with Neste, a leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), for the supply of fuel at Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport. The Chicago-based company became the first U.S. airline to enter into such a contract.

The initial agreement calls for the provision of up to 52.2 million gallons of SAF to fuel the carrier’s flights from Amsterdam over the next three years. This is the largest agreement so far between the Dutch company and a commercial airline.

«Reducing carbon emissions from fuel is the fastest way United will reach our 100% green goal by 2050», said Lauren Riley, United’s Chief Sustainability Officer. «As the airline that has invested more than any other airline in sustainable aviation fuel production, it makes sense to expand our network of partners internationally with a leading company like Neste», she added.

Neste, which has been producing sustainable aviation fuel since 2011, will provide United with 2.5 million gallons of SAF in the first year. The airline will have the right to purchase up to 20 million gallons the following year and up to 30 million gallons in the third year.

Neste’s growth strategy calls for the company to produce 515 million gallons of SAF annually by the end of 2023. As it increases its production, United could purchase fuel to power operations at other airports as well.

«We are excited to be partnering with United in this milestone purchase agreement and make our SAF available to United, also an industry leader in SAF investments», said Thorsten Lange, Executive Vice President, Renewable Aviation at Neste. «Our global, fast-growing SAF production and supply chain supports airlines and their customers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions», he added.

Sustainable jet fuel has the advantage of offering similar performance to traditional ones. It can be used in the same engines as fossil fuel, but with a significantly lower carbon footprint. The reduction can be up to 80%.

Neste produces fuel from sustainably sourced waste feedstocks and renewable residues, including used cooking oil and waste animal fat.

See also: Etihad Airways operates 42 «green» flights in five days, including 22 test flights to reduce condensation trails

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