American Airlines and DFW Airport form sustainability alliance to coordinate environmental initiatives
(photo: DFW Airport)
Wed 12 Dec 2012 – American Airlines and its largest hub airport Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) have formed the Sustainability Alliance to identify opportunities that can improve their collective environmental footprint. A formalised council has been set up through the alliance to provide a forum for better coordination of environmental initiatives that will enhance the ability of the airline and airport to become more sustainable. Last week, the two partners hosted a ‘Flying Sustainably’ Expo at DFW to showcase their joint and individual environmental projects, with experts and programme leaders from the airline on hand to share background information and successful initiatives. American’s Corporate Environmental Department and DFW recently worked together to expand the airline’s onboard recycling programme.
“Being good stewards of the environment is a commitment that our people take very seriously, and it is because of their efforts that our alliance with DFW Airport was formed,” said David Campbell, American’s Vice President for Safety, Security and Environmental. “As leaders in the aviation sector, we recognise the importance of taking an active role in working with our business partners to achieve positive results. We look forward to expanding our relationship, and we are confident that this is the beginning of a long-term success story.”
The airline’s onboard recycling programme was started in 1989, an industry-first, as an initiative by flight attendants and more than 12 million aluminium cans are now recycled each year, approximately the weight of four new Boeing 737 aircraft, says American. Through the alliance, the programme is now able to support collection of paper, plastic cups and bottles, as well the collection and recycling of corks from wine bottles.
In the air, American’s Fuel Smart programme, which began in 2005, has saved over 700 million gallons of jet fuel and eliminated 7 million tons of CO2 emissions. Further savings of fuel and emissions are expected as a result of fleet renewal. In July 2011, the airline placed the largest-ever aircraft order in which 460 narrowbody jets from Boeing and Airbus will be delivered between 2013 and 2022. This past summer, American allowed Boeing to use one of its new 737-800 aircraft as part of the airplane manufacturer’s ecoDemonstrator programme, which aims to accelerate the advancement of environmental technologies. The aircraft flight-tested emerging technologies in the areas of fuel efficiency, noise reduction and operational efficiency.
For the third consecutive year American Airlines has recently received the top ranking among US airlines in Newsweek’s 2012 green rankings. Parent company AMR was ranked second in the transportation and logistics category and high in the environmental list of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the United States.
DFW has developed and put in practice a sustainability programme, says the airport, that recognises environmental improvement as an economic, social and business imperative.
“Our airport has long demonstrated an industry-leading commitment to sustainability, including more than a decade of investment in enterprise-wide sustainable practices ranging from alternative fuel vehicle fleets to responsible management of emissions, water and energy,” commented Jeffrey Fegan, CEO of DFW Airport.
The DFW vehicle fleet has been almost completely converted to cleaner burning compressed natural gas, which has saved the airport considerable fuel costs and cut carbon emissions by more than 95% since 2000.
Energy consumption has also been significantly lowered across the airport through ‘continuous commissioning’ that fine tunes building heating and cooling systems. In the summer, DFW takes its air conditioning systems offline during peak demand hours and cools its 6 million square feet of terminal space with supercooled water pumped from its Energy Plaza, freeing enough electricity back into the grid to power thousands of local homes.
About 30% of the airport’s annual electricity usage currently comes from renewable sources and DFW is looking to extend its range of energy renewables to include wind power.
New plumbing fixtures across all five airport terminals have cut DFW’s customer water usage by 50%, saving around 5.5 million gallons each month.
Added Fegan: “We are very pleased to join with our great partners at American Airlines to collaborate on more and better ways to practice environmental stewardship and sustainability across all phases of our operations.”