Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) and Horizon Air (Seattle/Tacoma) have announced aggressive 2020 sustainability goals, pledging to decrease fuel consumption by 20 percent, use a sustainable aviation biofuel at one or more airports and increase its recruitment of military veterans.
These are among a series of goals and accomplishments highlighted in Alaska Air Group’s newly released 2013 Sustainability Report, which summarizes the company’s progress on environmental, social and economic goals.
Among the most significant accomplishments made since the airlines’ last Sustainability Report are improvements in fuel efficiency, which saved Alaska Air Group more than 10 million gallons of fuel since 2011. The airlines also cut waste by 50 percent per passenger, saving nearly 2,900 tons of recyclables that otherwise would have gone to landfills. In all, the airlines have reduced their greenhouse gases by more than 30 percent per revenue mile since 2004 as part of the company’s efforts to be a greener neighbor within the communities where it flies.
Air Group’s Sustainability Report analyzes the airlines’ efforts from Jan.1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2013. It is the company’s second comprehensive report in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative G4 Core Guidelines, an international standard for sustainability reporting on people the planet and performance.
Key highlights of the last two years include:
Flight attendants collected for recycling nearly 2,900 tons of paper, plastic, aluminum and glass waste onboard Alaska and Horizon flights in the last two years, cutting in half the amount of waste sent to landfills since 2010. That amount weighs the same as more than 1,600 cars. Alaska and Horizon are the only airlines that recycle on every domestic flight.
Air Group signed an off-take agreement with Hawaii BioEnergy to buy sustainable aviation biofuels from the Hawaiian Islands beginning in 2018. The airline has set a goal of using sustainable biofuels at one or more of its airports by 2020.
Alaska and Horizon cut emissions another 2.8 percent over the last reporting period (2011), for a total 30.4 percent reduction in carbon emissions since 2004 (measured by flying one passenger one mile).
Alaska Air Group contributed $15.5 million in cash and in-kind contributions to more than 1,300 charitable organizations since 2011.
All Horizon Air flights and three-quarters of Alaska Airlines flights arriving at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are using a new method of airport approaches, which allow aircraft to fly shorter, continuous descents. Estimates are that Greener Skies approaches will save more than 2 million gallons of fuel annually for all properly equipped airlines and reduced emissions by 22,400 metric tons of CO2—equal to the emissions contained in 96 rail cars of coal. Noise exposure for an estimated 750,000 people in the Puget Sound region has also been reduced.
Alaska and Horizon reduced fuel use by 10 million gallons since 2011 (as measured per revenue passenger mile) by flying the Boeing 737 and Bombardier Q400 — the most fuel-efficient aircraft in their classes. The airlines installed winglets on aircraft, used cutting-edge satellite navigation procedures and switched to electric vehicles for airport operations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, among other measures. The International Council on Clean Transportation ranked Alaska Airlines No. 1 in fuel efficiency among U.S. domestic airlines in 2013.
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air increased their employee engagement scores by 20 percent over 2011. Engagement measures employee satisfaction and involvement with their jobs.
In other news, Alaska Airlines will drop the following unprofitable routes according to Airline Route:
Los Angeles-San Jose, CA (April 5)
Portland, OR-Long Beach (August 23)
Portland, OR-Atlanta (September 1)
Denver-Anchorage (summer seasonal)
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-990 N323AS (msn 30021) gracefully climbs away from the runway at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hub and home.
Summer seasonal Denver – Anchorage service is also cancelled.