United Airlines has committed to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050.

United says the pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% relative to 2005 represents the equivalent of removing 4.5 million vehicles from the road each year, or the total number of cars in Los Angeles and New York City combined.

The airline will continue to invest in the company’s ongoing environmental initiatives to support this commitment, including expanding the use of more sustainable aviation biofuels, welcoming newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft into its fleet and implementing further operational changes to better conserve fuel.

Oscar Munoz, United’s chief executive officer, said: “At United, we believe there is no point in setting challenging and ambitious goals without also taking tangible steps towards achieving them, especially when it comes to securing the health of our communities and our planet.

“While we’re proud to be first US carrier taking such an ambitious step, it is a distinction we look forward to sharing as the rest of the industry catches up and makes similar commitments to sustainability.”

Biofuel flight

To mark the announcement, United will operate flight 44 today from its hub in San Francisco to Zurich with the carrier’s most fuel-efficient aircraft – the Boeing 787 – via a blend of sustainable aviation fuel supplied by World Energy’s California-based AltAir Fuels.

The airline will use 16,000 gallons of biofuel at a 30/70 blend with conventional jet fuel for the flight to Zurich, representing the longest transatlantic flight to date powered by a biofuel volume of this size.

United says it has sourced more than 2 million gallons of sustainable aviation biofuel since 2016.

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