JetBlue Airways announced a collaboration with California-based all-electric aircraft developer Joby Aviation and business aviation services company Signature Flight Support dedicated to supporting the transition to a net zero aviation industry through a carbon credit system supporting the development and growth of sustainable aviation technologies.

The aviation industry has come under scrutiny as a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responsible for 2-3% of global emissions, and one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonize. Several initiatives are being pursued in order to address the climate impact of the industry, typically involving efforts to improve aircraft efficiency, develop sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), or create aircraft utilizing low or zero carbon propulsion systems such as electric or hydrogen-based.

The new partnership aims to ensure that carbon markets for aviation include the generation of credits for flights powered by green electric and hydrogen propulsion technologies, enabling airlines and operators to offset their emissions from conventionally-powered aircraft in order to support the development and commercialization of these technologies.

Tony Lefebvre, CEO at Signature Flight Support, said:

“Today, we offer our customers the option to offset emissions at airports where SAF isn’t readily available with a book-and-claim model. We’re excited to expand that model through this partnership to include the purchase of electric aviation credits from clean operators like Joby — all while supporting the innovative spirit that brings us closer every day to making flight sustainable for everyone.”

Joby is developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that has the potential to transport four passengers up to 150 miles while producing zero operating emissions. The company’s airline ridesharing service is slated for launch in 2024.

JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said:

“With JetBlue and Signature, we’re opening up an entirely new path for the aviation industry to more quickly move to sustainable energy sources. We invite additional partners to join us and hope these agreements will be the first of many that link today’s air travel to the clean future of flight.”

The new partnership aligns with JetBlue’s goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its business by 2040. The airline announced in August 2020 that it had become the first major U.S. airline to achieve carbon neutrality, primarily through the use of offsets. The company acknowledged, however, that its climate offsetting strategy was intended to serve as a bridge to other industry-wide environmental improvements. The company is pursuing a variety of initiatives to support its goal, including signing a new SAF partnership earlier this week.

Sara Bogdan, Head of ESG at JetBlue, said:

“This partnership allows JetBlue to not only continue to fulfill our domestic carbon neutrality commitment, but also evolve the type of offsets we purchase and help support the development of electric and hydrogen aviation — critical levers for meeting the U.S. aviation industry’s net-zero goals.”