United Airlines plans to invest in emerging companies via its newly established United Airlines Ventures.
The corporate venture fund will focus on sustainability in line with the carrier’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The target relies on sustainable aviation fuel and carbon capture and sequestration rather than carbon offsets which United boss Scott Kirby has been critical of in the past saying they are just a box-ticking exercise by many airlines bosses.
Of the corporate venture fund, Kirby says younger companies are combining “aviation’s rich history with more advanced technology and creative thinking to develop new ideas that give us the ability to revolutionize how airlines operate and in turn, the experiences customers have when they fly.”
He adds that United Airlines Ventures is a sign of the carrier’s confidence in these companies.
In recent months the airline has also formed partnerships to invest in and buy aircraft from Archer Aviation, a developer of electric jets.
Michael Leskien, currently United’s vice president of corporate development and investor relations with also have responsibility for leading the venture fund.
The carrier also recently announced an agreement to purchase 15 Overture aircraft from Boom Supersonic.
Boom plans to reintroduce supersonic commercial flights that run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel.
United is not the only airline to taking steps towards more sustainable flying Alaska Air announcing a partnership with Boeing earlier this month on the manufacturer’s ecoDemonstrator program.
Through the program Alaska test about 20 technologies on a new 737-9 aircraft which aim to boost safety and sustainability.
An engine noise reduction initiative and cabin sidewalls made from recycled materials are part of the tests.
The tests are expected to last five months and once complete the aircraft will be configured for passenger service.