While airlines today are constantly upgrading their fleets to improve their routes, times, ticket prices, and in-flight services, one area that is often overlooked is their continuous emphasis on sustainable travel. Flight operators around the world have been adopting a slew of measures to reduce the impact of air travel on the environment. This includes finding fuel alternatives with lower carbon dioxide emissions, lesser plastic waste generation, and flight efficiency through enhanced logistics. These changes stem from the belief that even the smallest shift – for instance, the use of lighter refreshment carts, a reduction in paper waste, or the option of organic food onboard – may be able to upgrade a regular mode of mass transportation to a form of eco-travel. Here are a few of the most active proponents of sustainable air travel across the globe whose conscious initiatives have been working towards cleaner and greener flying experiences.

United Airlines

Since 2013, United Airlines has been taking a plethora of decisive measures to mitigate its impact on the environment. The “Eco-Skies” initiative that was launched that year pledged to urgently reduce the airlines’ carbon footprint. United Airlines has improved its fuel efficiency over 30% since 1994, significantly reduced carbon emissions, transitioned to the use of sustainable in-flight products, and shifted to the use of biofuels to power its modern fleet in 2015. In 2018, the airline’s company announced that it plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2050.

Air France–KLM

The Air France–KLM group has long been driven by a strong interest in becoming an all-round eco-friendly airline. Its principles are outlined in the Air France–KLM Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Since 2013, the Air France–KLM group has laid emphasis on reducing noise pollution, water usage, waste production, lighter freight and equipment, and energy consumption. Until 2017, for 12 years in a row, it reigned the skies as the most sustainable airlines. It is working towards cutting down its emissions by 500,000 tons by 2020.

Air Nippon Airways

Having been termed the most sustainable eco-airlines for two years in a row, Air Nippon Airways has decided not to rest on its laurels, and become the first global company to issue Green Bonds, which raise funds for eco-friendly projects domestically and in foreign countries. The Japanese airline has also made efforts to introduce biofuel on its flights and wishes to use green algae to make jet fuel.

Ryanair

Ryanair considers itself “Europe’s greenest, cleanest airline” and its low-cost tickets, low freight allowance, and advance booking options ensure that jet fuel is optimally used in every flight. With the acquisition of many Airbus A319 and Boeing 737-MAX-200 aircrafts, operations on point-to-point routes, and design innovations such as the addition of winglets to many of its carriers, Ryanair is a model eco-airline which is an affordable and sustainable option for the air passengers of tomorrow.

China Airlines and LATAM Airlines Group

Both China Airlines and LATAM Airlines are renowned for being sustainability leaders in the air travel sector. Having acquired Sustainability Yearbook Member status under the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), both these airline companies have achieved a score that is among the top 30% of operators in the air transport industry. China Airlines’ initiatives to become a truly green airline have involved the construction of environmentally friendly offices, education training programmes, and the formation of a fuel usage task force in 2017. LATAM Airlines, on the other hand, has attempted to go back to the root of the problem by initiating local reforestation programmes and finding ways to employ renewable energy for their flight operations.

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