JetBlue achieves carbon neutrality for domestic flights

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JetBlue at JFK
JetBlue is the first U.S. airline to achieve carbon neutrality for domestic flights. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

JetBlue said Thursday that it has followed through on a promise made early this year to reach carbon neutrality for all domestic flights.

The achievement, the carrier said, makes it the first U.S. airline to reach that milestone.

"Even with a long recovery ahead following the Covid-19 pandemic, JetBlue remains focused on short- and long-term environmental opportunities, particularly lessening our largest impact -- carbon emissions -- and more fuel-efficient flying," Joanna Geraghty, the carrier's president, said in a prepared statement.

JetBlue is reaching carbon neutrality primarily by buying carbon offset credits, with an assist from its new usage of sustainable aviation fuel on flights out of San Francisco.

The Covid-19 crisis pushed airlines' burgeoning focus on sustainability to the back burner, even as it caused emissions to drop by grounding fleets. Yet experts expect ecofriendly initiatives and promises will survive the pandemic.

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The carrier is purchasing the sustainable fuel from Finland's Neste, which earlier this summer established pipeline delivery between San Francisco Airport and its U.S. processing facility in Houston. JetBlue is currently operating approximately six daily flights from San Francisco, down from 18 pre-pandemic. Sustainable jet fuel can reduce the carbon footprint of a flight by 80%.

JetBlue is managing its carbon offset program in partnership with the nonprofit CarbonFund.org Foundation. The carrier said it is supporting offset projects focused on the development of solar and wind farms, the prevention of deforestation and the capture and conversion of landfill gas for usage as renewable energy.

As flight demand returns, the carrier expects to ramp up its annual offsetting to 15 billion to 17 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions -- the equivalent of removing more than 1.5 million automobiles from the road.

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