Wing’s drone makes a delivery. (Wing Photo) Alphabet’s has stolen a march on Amazon’s plans for drone domination by winning air carrier certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. “Air Carrier Certification means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States,” celebrating the milestone. Wing was from (formerly known as Google X), and has been taking part in an in Southwest Virginia. The company has also conducted a test program in Australia that involved more than 3,000 drone deliveries to doorsteps, backyards and driveways. In all, Wing’s drones have flown more than 70,000 test flights, and is starting up . Wing said the data submitted to the FAA for certification showed that “a delivery by wing carries a lower risk to pedestrians than the same trip made by car.” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao hailed the certification. “This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our No. 1 priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential,” she said in a statement. Wing said its next step will be to further its participation in the Virginia pilot program. “For the next several months, we’ll be reaching out to businesses and community members in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg areas to demonstrate our technology, answer questions, and solicit feedback with the goal of launching a delivery trial later this year,” the company said. Amazon has been conducting its own drone delivery test flights in locations ranging from Israel and France to . The Seattle-based online retailing giant showed off more than two years ago. Amazon missed out on participating in the FAA’s first wave of drone pilot programs, however. We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment, and will update this item with anything we hear back.
Alaska Airlines says it will take a biofuel fill-up from Boeing when its 737 MAX jets are delivered. (Alaska Airlines Photo) Boeing says it will begin offering airlines and operators the chance to have their jets powered by biofuel when they take off for their new homes, and Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is the first to sign up for the option. The program was unveiled today, in the wake of this week’s t in Seattle. Boeing and Alaska Airlines were among the event’s sponsors. Like the summit, Boeing’s new option is aimed at advancing the use of aviation biofuels, which studies have shown can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80 percent on a typical flight. “This is another step in our decade-long journey to encourage the adoption of sustainable fuels and help commercial aviation earn its license to keep growing,” Sheila Remes, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice president of strategy, . “We have great customers such as Alaska Airlines that have made good progress in adopting the use of biofuels. We hope this new option will make it easier for them and others to demonstrate our industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions.” The biofuel option will be available for customers accepting new airplanes at Boeing’s delivery centers in Seattle and Everett, Wash. Boeing says it also plans to use biofuels for some of its flight tests at Seattle’s Boeing Field, and is working to offer the option at its South Carolina Delivery Center as well. Alaska Airlines says it will use a blend of biofuel and traditional fuel when it takes delivery of three Boeing 737 MAX airplanes this year. on airline flights, but now the arrangement is going beyond the experimental stage. “We congratulate our partners at Boeing for operationalizing a drop-in sustainable aviation jet fuel option,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of external relations. “We’re excited to not only take advantage of the first biofuel delivery, but to continue working together to advance and scale mainstream adoption of sustainable fuel and other practices to enhance the aviation industry’s ability to do good.” Read more: The biofuel will be produced from agricultural waste at refinery in Paramount, Calif., and blended with traditional jet fuel for commercial use. Texas-based, which supported Boeing’s evaluation of biofuels in its ecoDemonstrator flight test program, will ship the biofuel blend to Boeing’s delivery centers. Boeing has worked with partners around the globe to boost the use of sustainable aviation fuel. It supported the first commercial aviation test flight to use biofuel, , and helped get biofuel approved for regular commercial use in 2011. The potential feedstocks for biofuels include forestry and agricultural waste, Brazilian sugar cane, used cooking oil and a variety of plants. One project in which Boeing was involved using seawater-tolerant salicornia plants. The Port of Seattle has set a goal of using biofuel for 10 percent of the jet fuel on airplanes at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by 2028. That could translate into a plan to fuel every plane taking off from Sea-Tac with a 10 percent biofuel blend.