MIAMI – jetBlue (B6) has today signed the largest SAF purchase agreement in aviation history with SG Preston, a bioenergy development business.

On its part, Delta Air Lines (DL) also announced today that it would purchase Sustainable Aviation Fuel from Aemetis Inc. in a 10-year deal worth more than US$1bn, including tax incentives.

Delta Air Lines N107DU Airbus A220-171. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

SAF Deals in Detail


With the first deal, B6 is doubling its initial SAF commitment from 2016. By 2030, the carrier hoped to have converted 10% of its overall fuel usage to SAF on a mixed basis. The airline claims to be far ahead of schedule, with approximately 8% of SAF usage expected by the end of 2023, according to aerotime.aero.

From 2023 through 2033, SG Preston will supply B6 with at least 670 million gallons of blended SAF worth US$1bn to fuel its flight operations at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) (EWR).

The agreement is likely to bring the first large-scale volume of domestically produced SAF to a commercial airline in New York’s metropolitan airports.

For the DL SAF purchase, Aemetis has contracted to supply DL with 250 million gallons of blended gasoline incorporating SAF over the next ten years. The contract, according to the Cupertino, Calif.-based renewable-fuels company, is worth more than US$1bn in total, including fuel-standard and tax credits.

According to marketwatch.com, Aemetis wants to generate SAF at their renewable jet/diesel plant in Riverbank, California, which is now under construction. DL will be able to use the fuel starting in 2024, according to the corporation.

Delta said last year that it would become a carbon-neutral airline by 2030, with a goal of using 10% sustainable aviation fuel.

Diagram courtesy: Air bp

Switching to SAF


The switch from standard Jet-A fuel is expected to cut emissions by 80% per gallon of clean SAF and greenhouse gas emissions by 80% without compromising the aircraft’s operational safety or performance.

Sustainable aviation fuel is jet fuel made from biological resources that can be regenerated quickly without posing a threat to food security. SAF is made by blending conventional kerosene (fossil-based) with renewable hydrocarbon. They are certified as “Jet-A1” fuel and can be used without any technical modifications to aircraft.

As Air bp points out, Using SAF results in an astounding reduction in carbon emissions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces over the lifecycle of the fuel.

As an example, the carbon footprint of a return flight between London and San Francisco is roughly 1 tonne of CO2e per economy ticket. With the aviation sector set to double in size to over 8 billion passengers by 2050, it’s critical that airlines cut their carbon emissions, and SAF is one method of achieving just that.


Featured image: jetBlue A321 taking off. Photo: Nate Foy/Airways