Delta Air Lines aims to become the “first carbon neutral airline globally” and on Friday pledged to invest $1 billion over the next decade to reduce its environmental impact. “We have committed, starting March 1, to fully offset our emissions, the footprint we create from our jet fuel and other emissions, our carbon emissions as an airline,” the Atlanta-based operator’s CEO Ed Bastian said in a video message on LinkedIn.
According to Bastian, the initiative is “not about gaining credit—it’s about listening to our people, customers and our world, and then doing what’s right. This is a race for our planet, not a race to be No. 1.”
Delta’s carbon strategy will account for emissions across its business, both in the air—98 percent of it CO2 emissions are coming from its aircraft—and on the ground. The airline said it will focus on carbon reduction and removal. “There’s no challenge we face that is in greater need of innovation than environmental sustainability, and we know there is no single solution,” Bastian asserted. “And though we don’t have all the answers today, we know that our scale, along with investments of time, talent and resources will bring meaningful impact to the planet and ensure the sustainability of our business for decades to come.”
The company did not reveal details of concrete projects of its $1 billion sustainability investment and whether the acquisition of new aircraft is included in the amount, saying only that “2020 will see a number of milestones that demonstrate Delta’s progress and commitment, and that Delta will share broadly as each of them launch.”
In the wake of heightened scrutiny of air transport’s impact on greenhouse gases and the rise of the "flight shame" movement, airlines across the world are taking—and publicly promoting—additional steps to mitigate their environmental footprint and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. From July onward, New York-based Jet Blue will offset emissions on all of its domestic flights following similar programs already established by several European carriers including Air France, British Airways, and easyJet.