Airlines are already financially motivated to cut fuel use through more efficient aircraft and flying, since jet fuel is one of their largest costs.
But air travel is seen as a “hard-to-decarbonize” industry. Airlines have been trying to show they are making efforts — in order to reassure customers who may be concerned about the impact of flying on the environment.
The airline faces pressure from key corporate customers that have their own sustainability goals and may reduce travel as a result. Flying less is also often touted as a way for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. And in Europe, the concept of “flight shaming” as an environmental movement to reduce flying has gained some currency. All of those factors are threats to airline business.
As Delta chief sustainability officer Pam Fletcher announced the Sustainable Skies Lab, she emphasized: “As we make progress toward our sustainability goals, we want to make sure our customers will feel as good about flying as they do about the connections made with the people and places we take them to.”
A note of disclosure
This coverage is supported by a partnership with 1Earth Fund, the Kendeda Fund and Journalism Funding Partners. You can learn more and support our climate reporting by donating at ajc.com/donate/climate/