Halophytes that can be grown in deserts have been researched for biofuel production, among other applications, in aviation. Such biofuels would not compete with food production and not deplete fresh water resources, which sounds like a highly beneficial situation. On the other hand, deserts have an important role in ecology and climate. I would imagine changing large surface areas of desert into croplands would lower the planetary albedo and therefore accelerate heating (although I think it would be small compared to equivalent fossil fuel burning), and Saharan dust provides essential nutrients to the Amazon rainforest.
What are the potential downsides, from a sustainability point of view, of large-scale halophyte biofuel production? Is it really the revolution that Boeing and co. want us to believe? Or is there some major catch that the articles are not addressing, that would make this possibility a lot less promising than we might hope?