Delta pledges $1 billion to become first carbon-neutral airline

Consumer

(CBS News) – Delta Air Lines said Friday that it’s committing $1 billion toward becoming the first carbon-neutral airline. The 10-year pledge will focus on improving jet efficiency and reducing fuel usage, as well as investing in carbon removal. 

The airline industry accounts for about 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, Delta said. It noted that about 98% of the company’s emissions come from its aircraft.

The carrier said it wants to decrease the use of jet fuel by making its planes more fuel efficient, but also by investing in and developing sustainable aviation fuels. It plans to study carbon removal opportunities through techniques such as forestry, wetland restoration and grassland conservation. 

The commitment comes as consumers are increasingly opening their wallets for products and services that are marketed as sustainable. 

“When customers choose to fly Delta, they should feel they’re making a statement about taking care of our planet,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement. 

Delta said it added 80 new aircraft in 2019 that are 25% more fuel efficient than the planes they replaced. 

Delta’s not the only airline that’s promoting sustainability. JetBlue earlier this year said it will use what it calls sustainably sourced jet fuel on some of its flight, as well as buy carbon offsets to cancel out emissions from its domestic flights.

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