Biofuel takes flight in Los Angeles - United Hub

Biofuel takes flight in Los Angeles

By The Hub team, March 17, 2016

When approximately 150 of our customers boarded Flight 708 departing from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on March 11, they became part of a milestone in commercial aviation. The Boeing 737 was powered by a blended biofuel made from agricultural waste and other natural byproducts.

"It's great to be part of this flight, and it's exciting to be the first U.S. airline using renewable energy to power our flights," said United First Officer Ernesto Alessio, one of Flight 708's pilots.

United has now moved the U.S. aviation industry beyond demonstration flights and is, for the first time, using biofuels in regular commercial operations. We agreed to purchase up to 15 million gallons of sustainable biofuel from AltAir Fuels over a three-year period. We are now using the biofuel in daily operations at LAX, storing and delivering it the same way as traditional fuel – making LAX the first airport to incorporate biofuels into its fueling system.

To celebrate this eco milestone, we held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the LAX's Terminal 7 with customers, employees and United leaders, as well as industry and government partners including California State Senator Fran Pavley (D), California State Senator Ben Allen (D), California Assembly member Jim Frazier (D), California Energy Commissioner Janea Scott, Air Resources Board Member Hector De La Torre and Los Angeles World Airports CEO Deborah Flint.

"It's an honor to be at the launch, celebrating this great achievement," said Jim Compton, United's chief revenue officer and vice chairman. "Supporting the commercialization of biofuels is good for both United and the United States – we are helping to diversify the fuel supply with sustainable sources of fuel, supporting energy security, and protecting against long-term oil price volatility."

The biofuel United is using is a blend of 70 percent traditional jet fuel and 30 percent biofuel, so it doesn't require any modifications to aircraft engines or airport infrastructure. It also undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it meets the same performance certification as our conventional jet fuel. To our customers and crews, the flight experience is exactly the same.


This alternative fuel is estimated to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by greater than 60 percent. This means fewer carbon emissions are produced throughout the whole lifecycle process, starting with harvesting the raw materials, refining the fuel, transporting the fuel and combusting the fuel in our aircraft engines.

"We're proud to be a leader in sustainable aviation biofuels for the airline industry," said Angela Foster-Rice, United's managing director for environmental affairs and sustainability. "We are committed to taking actions today to help build a more sustainable future for our customers, employees and communities."

United's partnership is with AltAir Fuels, and over the next three years, we plan to buy enough biofuel to power the equivalent of 12,500 flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Which means the Friendly Skies are about to get a whole lot friendlier to the environment.

Jessica Kimbrough named Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By The Hub team, July 10, 2020

Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.

Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.

In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.

"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."

As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.

Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.

Jessica's new role is effective immediately.

United Cargo and logistics partners keep critical medical shipments moving

By The Hub team, July 02, 2020

By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.

United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.

Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.

A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.

United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Celebrating Juneteenth

By United Airlines, June 18, 2020

A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group

Fellow United team members –

Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.

Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.

Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.

Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."

Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.

To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.

Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.

Thank you,

UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)

Leadership Team

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