Delta reduces its emissions by over 18 per cent since 2005 and exceeds industry annual fuel efficiency goal
Older aircraft in the Delta fleet are to be replaced by the Boeing 737-900ER (photo: Boeing)
Wed 28 Aug 2013 – Delta Air Lines has reported a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 18.4 per cent between 2005 and 2012, representing some 8.5 million tonnes, following verification of its GHG inventories under its membership of The Climate Registry. The airline says it managed to improve annual aircraft fuel efficiency by an average of 1.7 per cent from 2009 to 2012, exceeding the industry goal of 1.5 per cent. The lower emissions, claims Delta, are due to fleet replacements with more fuel efficient aircraft, the implementation of numerous initiatives to reduce fuel consumption on existing aircraft and the conversion of ground support equipment from diesel to electric at Atlanta. The Climate Registry is a non-profit organisation with established standards for calculating, verifying and publicly reporting carbon footprints.
“By measuring and verifying carbon emissions through The Climate Registry, we demonstrate accountability for our emissions, as well as a continued commitment to reduce Delta’s overall carbon footprint through fleet renewal, reducing weight from our aircraft and implementing air traffic initiatives,” said Ken Hylander, the airline’s Senior VP Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance.
In 2012, Delta became the first legacy carrier – low-fares airline Virgin America became a member in 2009 (see article) – to join the voluntary registry with successful verification of its 2005-2011 emissions.
“Climate-registered organisations understand that there are both environmental and economic benefits to understanding and managing your carbon footprint,” commented David Rosenheim, Executive Director of The Climate Registry. “Delta has become part of a powerful community of Climate Registered organisations, with substantive data guiding and supporting its sustainable activities.”
The airline says its focus on third-party verification aligns with the data integrity component of the IATA resolution passed in June approving the implementation of the industry’s carbon-neutral growth from 2020 strategy. Delta says it is also committed to supporting the two other goals of IATA and US airline association Airlines for America, namely improving average annual fuel efficiency by 1.5% through to 2020 and reducing net emissions 50% by 2050 relative to 2005.
Initiatives to lower carbon emissions by the airline include reducing its fleet of 50-seat regional jets with larger, more efficient mainline aircraft that Delta says produce fewer emissions per seat. This year, the airline will retire 49 50-seat aircraft and add 28 larger aircraft including the Boeing 717 and 737-900.
On existing aircraft, Delta has instigated initiatives to reduce fuel consumption, including weight reductions, fuel management and implementing air traffic procedures such as more fuel-efficient approaches and take-offs.
It has also converted 35 pieces of ground equipment from diesel to electric in a combined effort with the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Atlanta’s Center for Transportation and the Environment. The effort is expected to save an estimated 129,000 gallons of diesel and 575 tons of carbon emissions per year, representing around 11,500 tons over the life of the equipment.