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Alaska Airlines Launching Biofuel-Powered Commercial Service In The United States

"Aviation clearly needs a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President of Environment and Aviation Policy Billy Glover. "In the U.S. and around the world, the industry is doing all it can to support sustainable biofuel development and maintain aviation's role in global economic growth. To make that happen we must develop regional supply chains, and that takes supportive government policies that encourage investment in the early stages of this emerging sector."

Alaska Air Group estimates the 20 percent certified biofuel blend it is using for the 75 flights will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 10 percent, or 134 metric tons, the equivalent of taking 26 cars off the road for a year. If the company powered all of its flights with a 20 percent biofuel blend for one year, the annual emissions savings would represent the equivalent of taking nearly 64,000 cars off the road or providing electricity to 28,000 homes.

"Tomorrow's fuels are ready to be used in today's airplanes and that's an important step forward," said Philippe Poutissou, vice president of marketing for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. "Our industry already designs aircraft that reduce the environmental footprint. We continue to strive for sustainable solutions and greener skies."

The fuel was supplied by SkyNRG, an aviation biofuels broker, and made by Dynamic Fuels, a producer of next-generation renewable, synthetic fuels made from used cooking oil. The synthetic high-performance airliner fuel made by Dynamic Fuels — a $170 million joint-venture between Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) and Syntroleum Corp. — meets aviation and military safety, sustainability and performance standards.

"Advanced biofuels can be an economic driver in creating good jobs and a vital part of America's long-term energy security," said Bob Ames, Tyson Foods' vice president of renewable energy and member of the Dynamic Fuels management committee. "However, government policies supporting development are essential to ensure that the aviation biofuels industry reaches its full potential and is able to compete against foreign petroleum."

Alaska's commercial biofuel flights come six months after Air Group partnered in a strategic initiative called Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFN), a 10-month regional stakeholder effort to explore the feasibility, challenges and opportunities for creating an aviation biofuels industry in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The study determined the region has the diverse stocks for biofuels, delivery infrastructure and political will needed to create a viable biofuels industry. There currently is no supply of aviation biofuels in the Pacific Northwest.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 North America Airline Satisfaction Studies(SM). For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.

SOURCE Alaska Air Group Inc.

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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