10 ways Delta advanced the more sustainable future of flying in 2022   

Tree planting

Delta continued building momentum in 2022 on its journey to connect people to a more sustainable future of flying. From welcoming a new CSO and developing innovative partnerships, to advancing sustainable aviation fuel markets and further reducing single-use plastics onboard, work across the global carrier in 2022 has set Delta apart as a sustainability leader in the aviation sector.  

As Delta continues on its path to net zero emissions by 2050, here are some of the ways it has been working this year to embed sustainability in everything it does, while working to eliminate its climate impact from flying.  

1. New CSO Pam Fletcher tapped to lead Delta's path to net zero emissions by 2050 

Auto industry innovation leader Pam Fletcher joined Delta in 2022 as the first chief sustainability officer to also be named a member of the Delta Leadership Committee – a group of senior leaders responsible for the airline's strategic direction.  

2. Waste reduction and recycling 

In 2022, Delta refreshed its onboard product offerings with artisan-made amenity kits, recycled bedding, reusable and biodegradable service ware and premium canned wine. Together, the products reduce onboard single-use plastic consumption by approximately 4.9 million pounds per year – that’s roughly the weight of 1,500 standard-sized cars – while significantly increasing Delta’s support of minority- and women-run businesses. 

3. More sustainable ground operations  

Delta deepened its commitment to investing in more sustainable ground operations in 2022 by setting a goal to electrify 50% of its ground service equipment by 2025. Progress is already well underway with 100% of purchases of eligible core fleet equipment being fully electric (baggage tractors, belt loaders, and aircraft tow tractors) in 2022. Furthermore, two major hubs, BOS and SLC, are getting close to 100% electrified for these core fleets. 

4. A more transparent supply chain 

Delta continued to integrate sustainability into its entire business strategy by partnering with Ecovadis to create transparency across Delta's supply chain processes and alignment of values when it engages suppliers. Ecovadis provides an ESG ranking for every vendor in Delta's global supply chain, allowing Delta to measure the impact of its supply chain, encourage vendors to take action to improve their scores and identify potential new vendors with strong sustainability rankings.  

5. The power of Delta people in the community  

Taking action in the communities where Delta people live work and serve is core to Delta’s values. In 2022, Delta partnered with organizations and employees volunteered to improve local environments. 

6. Cleaner fuel: SAF advancements  

Delta has committed to fueling 10% of its operation with SAF by the end of 2030. Strong progress toward this goal was made in 2022, despite existing annual global SAF supply being insufficient to operate a fleet Delta’s size for even a single day. The global airline created demand signals for the SAF market and encouraged greater investment in the space.

SAF is extraordinary because it can lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 80% versus conventional jet fuel and is a proven technology that can be dropped into today's aircraft with no modification to fuel cells or engines.  

7. Fleet innovation 

2022 saw Delta's fleet, once again, become more efficient. Building on work to fast-track the retirement of older aircraft during the two previous years, Delta welcomed the A321neo into service in 2022, powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines that offer 20% greater fuel efficiency over Delta's A321ceos. Delta also ordered 100 Boeing 737-10s that are scheduled for delivery beginning in 2025. The 737-10 aircraft will be 20-30% more fuel efficient than the aircraft they'll replace, reinforcing one of Delta's strategic fleet objectives to lower emissions. 

8. More fuel-efficient aircraft operations: Carbon Council

More than 10 million gallons of fuel were saved in 2022 thanks to the work of Delta's Carbon Council, that launched in 2022. Made up of leaders from across the airline, the council drives fuel savings initiatives that align with the airline's Science Based Target initiative commitments. Teams across Delta have worked together to make an impact through fleet modifications, enhanced landing procedures, and optimizations to flight routing and speed.  

9. Revolutionary fleet industry partnership 

In 2022, Delta worked with other companies creating potentially disruptive technologies that could accelerate progress toward net zero aviation. One example is Delta’s Memorandum of Understanding to become the first U.S.-based airline to collaborate with Airbus on the research and development of hydrogen-powered aircraft and the ecosystem required to make the transition. 

10. The power of collaboration 

Decarbonizing aviation will require collaboration and shared knowledge across the industry and beyond. Taking part in the SkyTeam Alliance’s Sustainable Flight Challenge was one way in 2022 that Delta used the power of its airline partnerships to test and explore sustainability solutions. 

For futher details, please read the full article here.  

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