JetBlue's US Flights Will Be Carbon Neutral Starting July 2020

This is a historic first for a major US airline.

Jan 21, 2020

Offsetting air travel carbon emissions is not new. Environmentally conscious consumers have been doing it for over two decades. 

British Airlines became the first airline to offer an offset program accredited by the UK's Quality Assurance Scheme for Carbon Offsetting in 2009 according to Phocus Wire. The United Nations adopted carbon offsetting as one of the ways to reduce greenhouse emissions in 201.6

Today, many airlines allow people to donate to environmental causes to offset the carbon cost of flying. This could be partially attributed to "flight shaming" and to the fact that more consumers are environmentally savvy and put their money where their beliefs are. That's why JetBlue announced that the airline is going to go carbon neutral on all domestic US flights beginning in July 2020.

The company said that they are the first major US airline to take this step in reducing its contribution to global warming. They plan to significantly increase carbon offsetting in July 2020 to the tune of 17 billion pounds (7.7 billion kilograms) but that is only part of the plan to go carbon neutral.

“Air travel connects people and cultures, and supports a global economy, yet we must act to limit this critical industry’s contributions to climate change,” Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue said in a company press release.

“We reduce where we can and offset where we can’t. By offsetting all of our domestic flying, we’re preparing our business for the lower-carbon economy that aviation – and all sectors – must plan for.”

JetBlue plans to build on the airline's already existing programs that include fuel saving technology and airplanes (JetBlue purchased Airbus planes with high efficiency standards), fuel-efficient air traffic control systems, and to continue to partner with Carbonfund.org; a US nonprofit carbon reduction organization. Since 2008, the airline has offset 2.6 billon-pounds of carbon emissions. The company will also partner with EcoAct, Neste, and South Pole.

“Carbon offsetting is a bridge to, not a silver bullet for, a lower carbon future. Reducing and mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions is a fundamental aspect of our business plan and our mission to inspire humanity, said Hayes.”

JetBlue is also announced that it will start flying with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from Neste on flights from San Francisco International Airport by the middle of 2020. Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel™ is made from waste materials. United Airlines is using biofuel on flights that originate in Los Angeles.

“The airline industry is one of the few industries that has collectively committed to an international emissions reduction goal,” said Hayes.

JetBlue's partners Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic have also worked to expand carbon offsets according to The Washington Post. Delta Airlines has also taken major sustainability steps as has UK based EasyJet.

Although JetBlue's new sustainable carbon neutral goals came about due to consumer pressure, it is a wise business decision because more and more people are beginning to understand the effects of climate change, especially after the devastating Australian bush fires.  Whatever the motivation, this is good for the health of our planet and a major step in the right direction.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.