Alaska Airlines announced the formation of a new LLC, Alaska Star Ventures, to advance emerging technology that will accelerate the airline's progress toward net zero carbon emissions.
"To live our purpose and create an airline people love, we must operate every day in a way that cares for both people and the environment," said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. "To do that, we are seeking technologies that will accelerate our mission to build a more sustainable future for the aviation industry."
For the inaugural investment by Alaska Star Ventures, the company partnered with UP.Partners, an early-stage investor in sustainable, multi-dimensional mobility technologies that are transforming the moving world.
"The future of aviation is a collaborative effort between founders, funders, builders and key stakeholders — like Alaska Airlines," said Cyrus Sigari, UP.Partners' co-founder and managing partner. "With transportation as the underlying fabric of society, selective and values-driven investments that move the industry toward sustainable aviation are key. We're proud to partner with such a mission-aligned group that is launching today: Alaska Star Ventures."
"We're proud of our ambitious targets and our legacy of being pioneers, but we also know we can't fundamentally decarbonize and achieve net zero carbon emissions alone," said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines' vice president of public affairs and sustainability. "That's why we're focused on discovering, partnering with, and enabling technologies that will allow us to take real and meaningful steps on our five-part path to net zero now and in the years ahead. We're thrilled to partner with UP.Partners on our first project and are fortunate to have aviation veteran Pasha Saleh leading corporate development to successfully launch and grow this initiative."
Alaska announced in April its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 with a five-part strategy to decarbonize. Alaska's deployment of Flyways, artificial intelligence and machine learning software that supports our dispatchers' route optimization efforts, inspired the pursuit of additional technologies to accelerate our path to net zero and enable efforts of Alaska employees across our system.
The company's commitments to reduce its impact on carbon, waste and water build on a track record of progress in environmental sustainability including industry-leading onboard recycling, eliminating plastic straws and stir sticks, enabling touchless and paper-less guest experiences through technology, advancing the use of sustainable aviation fuels, and partnering with the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program to evaluate and test sustainability-focused technology.