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An airplane window overlooking the wingtip and ground below

Sustainability Advancements in Aviation

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Over the last several years, the aviation industry has seen a large shift in focus to prioritize sustainable practices. The issue of climate change is complex and wide-reaching, but stakeholders from across the industry are committing to reducing carbon emissions and finding a more sustainable path for the future of aviation. These practices include sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), aircraft modernization, and so much more.

In honor of Earth Day, let’s take a look at some of the progress that’s being made within the airline industry.

Air Transport Action Group
The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) is a non-profit organization that brings together stakeholders from across the airport industry to address the collective impact on climate. Their current mission is to help drive the industry towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Their members include manufacturers, airline/airport associations, industry suppliers, sustainable fuel companies, and more - all of whom are committed to the sustainable future of air transport.

Commercial airlines are an important piece of this puzzle, and SBA’s airline partners are doing critical work in making this goal a reality and addressing sustainability as a whole.

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines has set goals to be the #1 most fuel-efficient U.S. airline and to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Their work includes saving fuel through innovative technology, fuel-and emissions-saving practices, reliable operations, and more fuel-efficient airplanes. Other goals include reducing waste, replacing single-use plastics, and supporting healthy ecosystems. Learn more about Alaska’s EverGreen journey.

American Airlines
American Airlines is working to make its operations more sustainable with more fuel-efficient aircraft powered increasingly by low-carbon fuel and new technology. To achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the airline has set a number of ambitious intermediate targets. Check out their interactive map to learn more about their actionable goals.

Delta Air Lines
Delta’s work to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, while delivering a more sustainable future, focuses on what they fly, how they fly, and the fuel they use. While they’re making immediate changes, like reducing single-use plastics and reducing fuel consumption, they are also working on long-term solutions to fully decarbonize operations and the industry. Learn more about their short, medium, and long term aspirations.

Southwest Airlines
Southwest’s “Nonstop to Net Zero” plan outlines their path to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Their strategic areas of focus include three C’s: carbon (addressing carbon emissions), circularity (making operations more sustainable), and collaboration (working directly with partners). Learn more about Southwest’s Nonstop to Net Zero.

United Airlines
United Airlines was Airline Strategy Awards' 2022 winner for Environment, Social, and Governance. They are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050, and are doing so with a bold action plan that includes sustainable fuel sources, aircraft modernization, and carbon capture and sequestration. Learn about United’s plan and their year-to-date progress.


This move toward a more sustainable future is only possible with the commitment and collaboration that's being seen industry-wide. For more information and resources on Fly Net Zero, visit the Air Transport Action Group's website.