The aviation industry produced almost 700 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2012, representing two percent of all carbon emissions, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN group. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) projects that greenhouse gas emissions from aviation will increase by four percent annually through 2050, and by then could be responsible for 15 percent of carbon emissions.
Aviation is presently responsible for about 10 percent of global transportation related oil use, and that is expected to at least double by 2030. Perhaps Alaska Airlines (AA) can lead the way to improving fuel efficiency, which would lower the industry’s carbon emissions.
A report by the ICCT ranked AA number one in fuel efficiency. The study is the first to quantify the fuel performance of the 15 top U.S. airlines. Making the number one spot in ICCT's rankings makes AA the most fuel-efficient U.S. airline. AA topped the least fuel-efficient airline, Allegiant, by 26 percent. As a result of improving its fuel efficiency, AA reduced its carbon emissions by 30 percent.
One of the main ways the airline improved fuel efficiency was through switching to more fuel-efficient aircraft, including the Boeing 737 and Bombardier Q400. Both aircrafts are described as the most fuel-efficient aircraft in their classes. Another way that AA improved fuel efficiency is by implementing better arrival routes at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The airline accomplished this by using satellite-based navigation as opposed to ground-based radar. Last spring, the shorter routes became operational and saved fuel and reduced carbon emissions.
"We have made significant investments in our fleet, technology and processes to improve our fuel performance. These sustainability efforts also help us keep our costs down in order to provide better value for our customers," said Keith Loveless, Alaska Air Group's executive vice president and general counsel.
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.