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US airline execs to meet with White House on reducing emissions

written by Hannah Dowling | February 25, 2021

Airbus A380 landing at LAX (Source: Rob Finlayson)

Top chief executives of major US airlines are reportedly set to meet with White House advisers on Friday to discuss the future of US aviation, including reducing emissions and embracing sustainable fuels.

Sources close to the matter have informed Reuters that the CEOs of American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines have been invited, among others, to meet with White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy, as well as economic adviser Brian Deese.

The executives have been requested to attend the White House in order to discuss the environmental issues associated with the air travel industry, including carbon emissions and fossil fuels.

A number of European states have already mandated the transition into use of sustainable fuels in aviation, with others around the world embracing similar strategies and requirements placed upon the aviation industry.

Such European requirements are expected to be addressed at the meeting between US airlines and the White House.

According to Air Transport Action Group, air travel contributes about 2 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, with that figure set to increase in coming decades if airlines do not swiftly shift to “sustainable aviation fuel”.

Such fuels have been created and utilised in recent years, including bio-fuels created from cooking oil, animal fat and plant oils – though biofuels are typically more expensive and harder to source than traditional fossil fuels.


In 2019, the ICAO Assembly acknowledged the need for SAF to be developed and deployed in an economically feasible, socially and environmentally acceptable manner.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis was largely considered to be the aviation industry’s biggest challenge to overcome, however the matter has largely taken a back seat to the COVID crisis throughout 2020.

World of Aviation has reported a number of recent incidents that suggest the industry is once more turning its focus on the climate crisis.

Earlier this month, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced it successfully operated a world-first passenger flight from Amsterdam to Madrid utilising sustainably derived synthetic fuel – as opposed to biofuel.

The 737 carried 500 litres of the synthetic kerosene, produced by Royal Dutch Shell using carbon dioxide, water and renewable energy sources, mixed with regular fuel to power the aircraft.

The airline noted that synthetic fuels take even longer to develop and source than biofuels.

The following week, the French government scrapped plans for a major $11 billion expansion of its famed Charles de Gaulle Airport, citing environmental concerns and climate goals.


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