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Alaska Airlines' Biofuel-Powered Service Takes to the Skies

75 flights hailed as 'the future of aviation' and path to a new industry

SEATTLE - Alaska Airlines inaugurated biofuel-powered passenger service this afternoon with two flights from Seattle to Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore. Alaska and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, are operating 75 select flights between Seattle and the two cities over the next few weeks using a 20 percent blend of sustainable biofuel made from used cooking oil.

"Washington state is proud to be a part of this historic leap forward for America's aviation biofuels industry," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. "By growing and producing our own biofuels, we can reduce our exposure to volatile aviation fuel prices, boost our local economies and minimize our carbon footprint. The growth and manufacturing of these fuels could establish a supply chain that has the potential to employ thousands of Washingtonians. As chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, I'll ensure that America builds on this moment and continues to invest in biofuels."

Alaska Air Group estimates the 20 percent certified biofuel blend it is using for the 75 flights will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 10 percent-the equivalent of taking 26 cars off the road for a year. If the company powered all of its flights with a 20 percent biofuel blend for one year, the annual emissions savings would represent the equivalent of taking nearly 64,000 cars off the road or providing electricity to 28,000 homes.

"We are witnessing the future of aviation," said U.S. Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington state. "This is another example of how we are poised to create thousands of clean energy jobs right here in Washington state. We can build an industry and market for sustainable aviation fuels, and I intend to use Alaska Airlines' biofuel efforts to continue to make the case to the administration to locate a biorefinery in Washington."

There currently is no supply of aviation biofuels in the Pacific Northwest, although potential sources were identified during a regional assessment by the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest group earlier this year ( www.safnw.com). Alaska Air Group purchased the fuel through SkyNRG, an aviation biofuels broker. The biofuel was made by Dynamic Fuels at its facility in Geismar, La.

Photos of the inaugural flights are available in Alaska Airlines' online image gallery at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 North America Airline Satisfaction StudiesSM. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.

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