United’s Sustainable Flight Fund adds strategic partners and grows to nearly $200m

United’s Sustainable Flight Fund adds strategic partners and grows to nearly $200m

Fund welcomes new partners American Express GBT and Boston Consulting Group among others

The United Airlines Ventures Sustainable Flight Fund has increased its investment to nearly $200 million and added eight new corporate partners, five months after its initial launch. 

The fund, a way for companies and consumers to come together and increase the supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through the support of start-ups, launched in February with more than $100 million in investments from United and its inaugural partners Air Canada, Boeing, GE Aerospace, JPMorgan Chase and Honeywell.

It has since onboarded eight new partners including American Express Global Business Travel, Aramco Ventures, Aviation Capital Group, Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group, Groupe ADP, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue Ventures.

Since the fund was launched, more than 60,000 United customers have contributed a total of more than $200,000. 

Customers also have the option to contribute to supplement the airline’s investment in the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund when they book flights. They have the choice to contribute $1, $3.50 or $7.

“While United can’t decarbonize the airline industry alone, we can use our leadership and credibility in this space to rally others to join us,” said Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures.

“As companies across the globe are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact from flying, the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund presents a unique opportunity – instead of fighting over the current limited supply of SAF, with our partners, we’re working collaboratively to help scale the SAF industry itself, and to get an equity stake in groundbreaking technology while doing it.” 

United said it will continue to recruit corporations across industries to join the fund and will “prioritise investment in new technology, advanced fuel sources, and proven producers” in an effort to help scale the supply of SAF.

Participants of the fund demonstrate the “impressive commitment within aviation and beyond” to reduce United’s carbon footprint and combat the threat of climate change. 

SAF must be blended with conventional jet fuel currently to meet regulatory requirements for use within the aircraft. 

For now, it’s made from used cooking oil and agricultural waste but in the future could be made from other feedstocks including household trash or forest waste. 

Through the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, United intends to invest in a variety of SAF feedstocks and technologies. 

This is in line with the airline’s aim to be net zero by 2050.  Earlier this year, it became the first U.S. airline to show customers an estimate of each flight’s carbon footprint in their search.