With the current catastrophic effects of the pandemic, Microsoft said it plans to acquire an alternative jet fuel for some Alaska Airlines flights, this time those generated by its frequent business travel. It is an effort to reduce pollution from some of its business flights and plan to buy credits for sustainable aviation fuel.
COVID-19 has affected the economy and air travel demand as well, especially the ones for business trips. Microsoft, however, is preparing for a comeback. Microsoft’s worldwide commercial business executive president, Judson Althoff, stated that they believe that the travel routes will resume at their level before the pandemic.
“This gives us the ability to get ahead of all of that because the climate crisis can’t wait.”Judson Althoff
Before the pandemic, aviation was one of the world’s fastest-growing sources of global greenhouse gas emissions. In line with this, Microsoft swore in January to become “carbon negative” by 2030, meaning it would eliminate more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits as commercial air travel contributes 2% to 3% of global carbon emissions.
To do this is to either by taking fewer flights or by switching to cleaner fuels. Of course, reducing breakouts is still the best option to reduce carbon emissions, but frequent fliers like Microsoft are trying to look for alternatives.
“Business travel has been one of the areas that are sort of like the long pole in the tent trying to solve sustainability. It’s easy to do certain things in the equation of pursuing being net zero and net negative in carbon, but travel and certainly air travel is one of the more difficult ones.”Judson Althoff
The fuel, made out of waste oil coming from unconventional sources such as cooking or agriculture, is blended with traditional jet fuel and distributed by Amsterdam-based SkyNRG at Los Angeles International Airport.
Both Microsoft and Alaska neither said the price for the fuel nor disclose the volume purchased. Microsoft said it is to offset its carbon emissions generated from its business travel on routes from Seattle to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Jose, California.
Airlines, including JetBlue, Alaska, United, and Delta have recently dedicated themselves to buy more biofuel for their aircraft. Althoff mentioned that the goal is to drum up demand for alternative jet fuels, so production follows, driving down the price.
Alaska CEO Brad Tilden told CNBC that Microsoft’s deal might pave the way for other business travelers.
“I believe it may well become a template for other business travelers.”CEO Brad Tilden