The CEOs of American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines and other airline officials met virtually with White House officials Friday to discuss tackling aviation pollution and urge U.S. support for greener aviation fuel.
United Chief Executive Scott Kirby made clear the carrier was fully committed to confronting the climate crisis and sought White House support for “incentives for sustainable aviation fuel and carbon capture in the forthcoming economic stimulus proposal,” the airline said in a statement.
White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, economic adviser Brian Deese and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took part in the meeting, including discussion of using biofuels to power air travel and reduce carbon emissions. Reuters first reported the planned meeting.
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U.S. airlines and renewables companies have been lobbying the Biden administration to back a big increase in subsidies for lower-carbon aviation fuel, arguing new incentives are needed to help fight climate change and will also make their recovery from the pandemic much greener.
The White House said in a statement the officials were “optimistic to hear airline leaders share information about the industry’s ongoing and future efforts to address climate change, and they offered the administration’s support to strengthen and advance the airlines’ climate goals.”
Currently, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade group, uses only about 1.5 million gallons of green plane fuel in the United States a year, out of a total commercial jet fuel market that exceeds 620 million barrels.
The price of sustainable aviation fuel can be three or four times higher than traditional jet fuel, making it uneconomical without government support, A4A told Reuters earlier.
A4A CEO Nick Calio said airlines had “a positive, constructive conversation about our shared commitment to fighting climate change. Airlines are ready, willing and able partners.”