Alaska Pilots Fly Biofuel-Powered Flights
On Wednesday, two Alaska
Airlines flights launched what will be a three-week program to operate
commercial flights using biofuel. The Alaska Airlines B-737 and a Horizon Q400
departed within minutes of one another, bound from Seattle to Washington, D.C.,
and Portland, Ore., respectively, using a blend of biofuel made from used
cooking oil and traditional jet fuel. Over the next few weeks, the Alaska Air
Group will fly a total of 75 flights powered by biofuel.
Biofuels, which are made using renewable resources, reduce fossil fuel
consumption, increase efficiency, and cut greenhouse gas emissions while
maintaining high safety standards, all of which are important for the future of
“Hopefully what happened this week will demonstrate that there is a real
interest and demand for biofuel,” said F/O Paul Stuart, Alaska MEC chairman of
the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. “Alaska Airlines has a proud history of
innovation and pioneering new technologies. It is exciting, but not surprising
to me, that we are at the forefront of a technology that will not only reduce
our industry’s carbon footprint, but will make aviation more sustainable into
“The future of aviation depends on more efficient
airplanes. It depends on more efficient operations. It depends on more efficient
fuel,” said Billy Glover, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of
environmental and aviation policy.
Alaska’s inaugural biofuel flights kicked off Wednesday afternoon with a news
conference in the boarding area of Gates C10 and 12 at Sea-Tac Airport. The
announcement generated some excitement among passengers awaiting their flights.
“I think it’s terrific,” said Alaska passenger Connie Partoyan, who was
flying home to Washington, D.C. “Obviously it’s a good idea, and I’m sure it’s
going to catch on with other airlines, too.”
Because biofuel is available only in limited supplies and is much more
expensive than traditional jet fuel, the number of biofuel flights that United
and Alaska will fly at this time is limited. But those involved in the first
biofuel flights say they hope that this demonstrates that there is a demand for
such a fuel in the aviation industry.