LAX makes the claim because it says that United Airlines flight 310, a Boeing 737-900ER with a special Eco-Skies livery, was the first to demonstrate the following key actions on a single commercial flight:
• Use of sustainable aviation biofuel
• Zero cabin waste
• Carbon offsetting; and
• Operational efficiencies including all-electric ground handling equipment.
The 'Flight for the Planet', as United is calling it, departed from Chicago and landed at LAX, the company’s 'eco-hub' for sustainable operations.
Its arrival coincided with United’s commitment to purchase up to 10 million gallons of sustainable aviation biofuel at LAX.
“LAX is proud to be United’s eco-hub for its most sustainable operations, highlighting our shared commitment to leading the industry in emerging sustainable aviation practices,” said Samantha Bricker, deputy executive director, evironmental programs group, at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).
"Los Angeles World Airports is an international leader in airport sustainability, and partnerships like this one are leading the way to a greener future at our nation’s airports.”
The eco-hub designation comes in part from United’s recent commitment to continue buying and utilizing sustainable biofuel for all of its departing flights at LAX over the next two years.
The use of biofuel, which is made from sustainable sourced agricultural waste feedstock, achieves a greater than 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to traditional jet fuel. United has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by 2050.
"Investing in sustainable aviation biofuel is one of the most effective measures a commercial airline can take to reduce its impact on the environment," said United Airlines president, Scott Kirby.
"As leaders in this space, LAWA, United and World Energy are setting an example for the industry on how innovators can work together to bring our customers, colleagues and communities toward a more sustainable future."
United first used biofuel at LAX in 2016, when it began its purchase of up to 15 million gallons to use on all flights departing from LAX.
That purchase made United the first airline in the world, and LAX the first airport in the world, to use biofuel for continuous commercial aircraft operations.
"Great companies lead in the face of great challenges," said Gene Gebolys, CEO of World Energy, which provides the biofuel used at LAX.
"That is exactly what United is doing by acting now to reduce its carbon footprint through the use of innovative products like our renewable jet fuel.
"We are honoured to renew our commitment to United to advance their efforts to drive change to a lower carbon future."