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Shell to Start Making Lower-Carbon Jet Fuel as Regulations Loom

Anglo-Dutch energy giant is first big oil company to disclose production, sales targets for SAF as demand from airlines ramps up

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is the first major oil company to announce targets for low-emission jet-fuel output and sales as airlines look to buy more of the fuel to meet climate-change goals and get ahead of proposed European Union regulations.

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant, a top provider of jet fuel, said it plans to produce 2 million metric tons of so-called sustainable aviation fuel a year by 2025, up from none today. It wants SAF to account for at least 10% of the jet fuel it sells by 2030, including fuel it sources from outside...

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Southwest Targets Expanded CX for Recovery and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing if not a grueling test for the airline industry, but Southwest is using the lessons it’s learned as a springboard for ongoing growth.

COVID-19 may have battered the travel industry to an unprecedented degree, but for technology leaders at Southwest Airlines, the experience has also taught some valuable lessons. Today, the airline is using that insight to chart a new course for the future.

“We have learned a lot about our existing system capabilities,” says Jeff Jones, vice president of commercial and customer technology with the airline. For example, “in the early days of the pandemic, the number of schedule revisions was astronomical—no one ever anticipated volumes like that. We saw some areas we needed to reinforce, and we made a lot of improvements.”

Business plummeted as the pandemic took hold, recounts Jim Dayton, vice president of air and ground operations technology. “We went from 4,000 flights a day to fewer than 1,500; those we did run were close to empty,” Dayton says. Yet even as the airline cut external IT support by 40% and reduced its technology budget by about 50%, it still delivered on 75% to 80% of its 2020 goals. “We have learned a lot about efficiencies, resilience, team sizes, and teamwork.”

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United Airlines Briefly Grounds Flights in U.S., Canada

Grounding lasted 45 minutes; technical system issues have been resolved.  The United grounding lasted from 6:45 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. ET. United Airlines Holdings Inc. grounded its flights in the U.S. and Canada Friday morning because of technical problems.  The grounding lasted from 6:45 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. ET, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“This morning we experienced technical system issues that impacted our operations and have since been resolved. All systems are now working normally and we are working diligently to get customers to their destinations,” the company said.

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FAA Chief Urges Care to Avoid Safety Risks as Airlines Ramp Up

The aviation-safety regulator sends a letter to carriers pointing out potential risks

U.S. air-safety regulators want airlines to stay on top of potential safety issues like employee fatigue as carriers race to keep up with a surge in demand for flights.

Regulators haven’t seen any alarming trends emerge in data collected from airlines, Federal Aviation Administration officials said, but this week the agency alerted industry groups to potential problems that could lead to incidents or accidents. Carriers have been bringing back furloughed workers, taking planes out of storage and adjusting flights with consumers returning to air travel.

“While we are all excited about the burgeoning recovery of passenger traffic, airlines should look across their operations for additional ways to increase predictability and provide stability to the system. More certainty reduces safety risks,” FAA chief Steve Dickson said in a Thursday letter to industry groups.

In a memo that accompanied the letter, the FAA recommended that carriers remain vigilant about possible fatigue-related errors among front-line employees and distractions for pilots, such as discussions in the cockpit about the pandemic.

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