Fuel prices have risen to a 14-year high worldwide since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The cost of flying grew 18.6% month-on-month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a result of the nearly two-fold increase in fuel prices in recent months, Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to afford travel both at home and abroad.
The carrier is gearing up to take more drastic steps in 2022 to ease the aviation crisis and stop the extraordinary and potentially disastrous rise in air fares.
To that end, it is now pushing the government to end the country’s dependence on foreign oil by encouraging the industry to invest in sustainable jet fuel.
Ernest advocated an “aggressive policy” to help travelers who have already experienced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
To mitigate the economic impact, he said the US must quickly reduce its dependence on Russian oil.
According to a former Obama White House press secretary, the US will spend $10 billion more in fuel this year than the year before the pandemic.
“We’re actually going to pay $10 billion – with a ‘B’ – more in fuel costs this year than we did in 2019,” he said. “The increase we had to absorb is incredible.”
It just means that fuel prices need to come down immediately. “One of the ways we can do this is by investing in sustainable fuel,” Earnest suggested, citing United Airlines as an example.
In December, they flew the first passenger jet powered solely by sustainable fuel, paving the way for other airlines to follow suit.
Using sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels could dramatically reduce air fares because airlines would no longer need to rely on the US government to contract with foreign countries to supply the fuel.
United are pushing for bigger changes. It is investing in a company that makes jet fuel from municipal waste and has been testing it since 2021.
Although some passengers are afraid to fly on “experimental” fuel, Earnest assured them that it is completely safe and works as intended.
Another major concern is the lack of qualified personnel. With demand greater than the industry’s hiring rate, many airlines have been forced to reduce their daylight saving hours.
To help reduce this problem, United is training up to 500 new pilots each year.