By using the latest flight techniques to conserve fuel, reduce noise and keep the air cleaner by reducing emissions, United Airlines has saved 1 billion pounds of fuel through conservation initiatives from 2004 to 2008, and improved fuel efficiency by 32 percent between 1990 and 2008 (gallons per revenue ton mile), according to its 2008-2009 Corporate Responsibility Report.
The full report (PDF) shows that United emitted 21.4 million metric tons of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions last year. The company also generated nearly 40,000 tons of waste, while recycling about 11,000 tons of that amount.
United also has nearly 1,800 alternative-fueled and zero-emitting vehicles, representing nearly 25 percent of its active Ground Support Equipment (GSE) fleet.
Starting in 2012, United Airlines will begin integrating renewable synthetic diesel fuel into the fuel used to power its ground equipment at Los Angeles International Airport. The company expects the fuel, derived primarily from yard clippings and woody green waste, to have a low carbon footprint and minimal particulate and other emissions.
United is also collaborating with key suppliers to help keep equipment running as cleanly and efficiently as possible to save fuel and cut emissions. As an example, working with major engine supplier Pratt & Whitney, United is using a patented “EcoPower” system to clean its jet engines. The clean engines will save 3 million gallons of jet fuel annually and reduce CO2 emissions by 28,000 metric tons per year, according to the report.
United is also working to minimize waste, promote recycling and use green design principles. As an example, the company has responsibly disposed of more than 10,000 tons of waste while repurposing other materials to divert waste from landfills.