NBAA Recognizes First Sustainable Flight Department Accreditation Recipients


The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has named the first business aviation companies to earn its Sustainable Flight Department Accreditation. Initial recipients include Mente LLC, Monarch Air Group, DBA Mercury Jets, Netflix, Steelcase Inc. and Textron Aviation’s Wichita Service Center. According to NBAA, the goal of the program is “to promote a culture of sustainability by encouraging companies to think and act critically, and to implement as many sustainability strategies as possible.”

“This is a pivotal moment for our industry’s commitment to sustainability,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We are taking bold strides to drastically reduce our impact on the climate and meet our goal of net-zero flight by 2050. We know the way forward, we have a strong vision, a deep commitment and the ingenuity to make this a reality.”

Launched earlier this year, NBAA’s Sustainable Flight Department Accreditation program offers separate accreditations in flight, ground support, operations and infrastructure categories. The program is designed as a tiered standard with the lowest “Transition Tier” requiring proof of at least a 10 percent reduction in CO₂ emissions or offsetting over the previous calendar year as compared to the company’s baseline year. The highest tier, Tier 6, represents a 95 percent or greater net reduction in CO₂ emissions from the baseline year. NBAA noted that it plans to continue completing accreditation audits throughout the year.

Accreditation criteria can be found on NBAA’s Sustainable Flight Department Accreditation Program website.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Since it takes more energy to make this fuel than it generates, one ponders how it can be labled “sustainable”.

    • The article above doesn’t even use the word “fuel.” There are myriad paths toward reducing CO2 production in commercial aviation; this is merely a system to reflect system-wide CO2 savings, such as perhaps using more efficient aircraft (in addition to SAF).

      It’s not unreasonable to be skeptical about SAF and it’s scalability and economics, but I have yet to see a credible source that it would yield a net increase in CO2 generation vs fossil-sourced fuels. What would be the point of that? See for one example of a potential SAF synthesis method that shows net CO2 lifecycle reduction.

      Given that battery-powered airliners are not feasible for the near future, SAF offers a route toward reducing net CO2 in commercial aviation at a time when the flying public is likely to demand this at an increasing rate. Short of entirely new aircraft designs (hydrogen, hybrid, etc), SAF is a way to ensure continued growth of the commercial aviation sector. It’s still years away before we see it become economically viable, but I’m glad to see this being developed.

      • “The article above doesn’t even use the word “fuel.””

        I assume you missed that big fuel truck strategically staged prominently in the foreground of the picture? How will increasing fuel cost ensure commercial aviation growth?

        For the added costs, what effect will there be by a 20% reduction in the airlines overall 2% contribution of the total 2.1% man released co2? 0.20 x 0.02 x 0.021 = 0.0084% . Personally I would not call that difference over natural co2 release even measurable over natural variations much less a driver of climate.

  2. What is the source of SAF? How is it made? Unless it is cheaper to produce than petroleum sourced jet fuel, I see little point in it. Reduce CO2? I think we had that discussion last week. A progressive folly. Is it made from waste material? Then its manufacture could be justified, it the end product produces more energy than that required to make it. That’s one of my issues (among others) with ethanol–it’s a net energy loser.

  3. The entire subject is just a shell game, giving governments an opening to charge more in taxes. This “net-zero” does nothing to actually reduce real heat or carbon emissions. It is just a politically “feel good” issue!

  4. They use criteria such as electric golf carts, tugs, EV courtesy cars, solar panels, electric heat pumps etc. all of which are minuscule compared with aviation fuel usage. There are numerous studies on the net energy and carbon balance associated with bio fuels and most are either net neutral or negative. Take biomass where the biomass must be accumulated from diverse, dispersed, and relatively low concentrations using carbon-based energy for transport and processing. Once at the processing site there might be a net gain but not when all the transportation inputs are included. All this is more virtue signaling in hopes of gaining recognition from the woke crowd and probably some “free” tax payer money.