JetBlue [JBLU:US], a US budget airline, has decided to end its carbon offset program for domestic flights and instead turn to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), in an effort to halve its per-seat emissions by 2035 from 2019 levels, as reported by The Verge on December 10. In 2020, the company became the first US airline to voluntarily offset greenhouse gas emissions from its domestic flights, and the effort is set to end in 2023. In addition, it has already been using SAF for flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles since 2020. The airline has signed procurement agreements with several companies for more SAF. On December 2, it signed an agreement with Fidelis New Energy [FDEI:US] to buy at least 92m gallons of blended SAF, to be delivered over five years starting from 2025.
Carbon offsets are intended to cancel out the pollution from burning aviation fuel by reducing emissions elsewhere, typically through investments in renewable energy or forestry projects. However, investigations and research have found that most carbon offset programs on the market don’t actually eliminate real-world pollution. In comparison, SAF could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 80% on average over the entire lifecycle, compared with their fossil fuel equivalent. The European Union has called on airlines to scale up the uptake of SAF for every flight leaving the larger EU airports, starting with 2% in 2025, 5% in 2030, and 63% in 2050. JetBlue has set a target to make SAF account for 10% of the airline’s total fuel by 2030.