Airlines for America (A4A) testified today before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, addressing the key role U.S. airlines are playing to stimulate the development and deployment of commercially viable, environmentally friendly, alternative jet fuels. Nancy Young, A4A’s Vice President of Environmental Affairs, also urged members of the Committee to continue support for public-private partnerships, which are critical to getting cost-competitive advanced biofuels off the ground.
In her testimony before the Committee, Young noted that airlines are naturally incentivized to vigorously pursue advanced alternative jet fuels and to reduce overall fuel consumption. Fuel remains the largest and most volatile cost for U.S. carriers, representing more than one-third of operating expenses. Although U.S. airlines consumed five billion fewer gallons of jet fuel in 2013 than they did in 2000, they spent a staggering $34 billion more.
“A stable, domestic supply of commercially viable alternative jet fuel is vital to job creation and spurring economic development across our nation,” said Young. “The U.S. airline industry is a green engine of economic growth and we continue to lead the way to a more stable, secure and environmentally friendly energy future.”
Young highlighted the steps the U.S. aviation industry has taken to support advanced aviation biofuels, through public-private partnerships such as the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative® (CAAFI), the Farm to Fly program and close coordination with the U.S. military. With U.S. airlines and the military now able to fly safely with approved aviation alternative fuels, Young noted that the focus now is on scaling up supply to make it cost competitive.
“The U.S. aviation industry is on the cusp of creating a viable alternative jet fuel industry – a synergistic win for the airlines, the traveling and shipping public, U.S. jobs, our armed forces, our economy and our nation,” said Young. “We continue to urge Congress and the Administration to support key public-private partnerships that provide the stability needed to accelerate the promise of alternative aviation fuels in the U.S. aviation industry and beyond.”
U.S. airlines drive 5 percent of U.S. economic activity but account for only 2 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), U.S. airlines burned 10 percent less fuel in 2012 than they did in 2000, resulting in a 10 percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, even though they carried almost 16 percent more passengers and cargo over that period.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. A4A airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. America needs a cohesive National Airline Policy that will support the integral role the nation’s airlines play in connecting people and goods globally, spur the nation’s economic growth and create more high-paying jobs.
For more information about the airline industry, visit www.airlines.org.
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