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Friday, July 26, 2013

Alaska Airlines to Purchase Biofuel for Hawaii Flights

An agreement signed this week could allow Alaska Airlines to begin using sustainable biofuel for its Hawaii flights as soon as 2018, the airline said.

Alaska Airlines signed an agreement with Hawai`i BioEnergy to purchase biofuel for its fleet. Founded in 2006, Hawai`i BioEnergy is a consortium of three of Hawaii's largest landowners and three venture capital companies who plan to use locally grown feedstocks to produce biofuels.

Alaska Airlines is Hawai`i BioEnergy's second customer, and the first airline to sign a contract. Hawaiian Electric Co. previously announced it had agreed to purchase 10 million gallons of fuel a year from Hawai`i BioEnergy for power generation to the state, pending approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Hawai`i BioEnergy will ramp up production of the sustainable fuels within five years of regulatory approval, allowing Alaska Airlines to begin procuring sustainable jet fuel for its Hawaii flights possibly as soon as fall 2018.

"We are pleased to be partnering with Hawai`i BioEnergy to encourage the production and commercial distribution of sustainable fuels," said Keith Loveless, Alaska Air Group's executive vice president and general counsel. "Beyond the environmental advantages, it improves the fuel supply integrity in the state of Hawaii, which will allow for the further growth of our airline operations throughout the Islands."

The feedstock for the biofuel is anticipated to be woody biomass-based and will be consistent with the sustainability criteria established by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, an international multi-stakeholder initiative concerned with ensuring the sustainability of biomass production and processing.

In 2011, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air were the first domestic airlines to fly multiple passenger flights powered by a biofuel blend.

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