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JetBlue aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 but 'can't do it alone'

JetBlue said it's zero-emission goals are ambitious, but it needs industry and federal support to meet them.

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JetBlue says its net-zero ambitions are among the most aggressive in the industry, but it needs help to help realize its goals. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
JetBlue says its net-zero ambitions are among the most aggressive in the industry, but it needs help to help realize its goals. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Low-cost U.S. airline JetBlue announced Wednesday it would pursue low-carbon solutions as part of an effort to reach net-zero emissions by 2040, but called for broad-based help in reaching its goal.

JetBlue said its net-zero target is 10 years ahead of the rest of the industry. Airlines are among the most difficult to decarbonize because of the lack of alternative fuels, but JetBlue said it would invest more in low-carbon and sustainable options to address its Scope 1 emissions, those coming directly from the company's operations, and Scope 3, those coming from up and down JetBlue's value chain.

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"Our team is fully committed to hitting the goal, but we can't do it alone," JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said. "We are calling on governments, aircraft and engine manufacturers, and fuel producers to support the development of the products and solutions that airlines need to achieve our ambitious goals."

The federal government found that jet fuel consumption is below pre-pandemic levels, though passenger levels are up, suggesting airlines are struggling with the same constraints gripping the crude oil and natural gas markets that resulted from the war in Ukraine.

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Supplies are tight and prices are high. On the energy transition, meanwhile, the White House called on the airline industries to do more with sustainable aviation fuels, or SAF.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida are working on a $10 million contract from NASA and Boeing to study ammonia as a clean, climate-friendly jet fuel. Ammonia in its pure form is made up of hydrogen and nitrogen, making it far cleaner to burn than carbon-based fuels.

JetBlue sees SAF as a key contributor to the sector's emission reduction strategies. Beyond that, the company said it was examining fuel efficiency as a way to lower emissions, following the logic that burning less fuel would lead to fewer harmful byproducts.

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"The aviation industry is at a critical time in our push towards net zero," said Sara Bogdan, JetBlue's director of sustainability and environmental social governance. "Many of these lower carbon solutions are proven, but still haven't achieved the scale needed to make a meaningful impact."

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