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Delta Outlines Plan to Become First Carbon Neutral Airline

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Delta Air Lines is committing $1 billion to become the first carbon-neutral airline globally, beginning next month.

On Friday, the carrier announced a 10-year commitment to mitigate all emissions both in the air and on the ground from March 2020 forward by investing in a variety of key areas, including advancing clean air travel technologies and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions.

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As a whole, the airline industry accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. According to Delta, 98 percent of the airline’s emissions come from its aircraft. Delta’s efforts to become carbon neutral will include focusing on carbon reduction, carbon removal and stakeholder engagement.

The airline will look to its “fleet renewal program, improved flight operations, weight reduction and increased development and use of sustainable aviation fuels” to decrease the use of jet fuel and boost efficiency. Delta also plans to investigate carbon removal opportunities through a plethora of projects, including forestry, wetland restoration, grassland conservation and marine and soil capture, among others.

Finally, the carrier will build coalitions with its employees, suppliers, global partners, customers, industry colleagues, investors and others to maximize its impact.

“There is no substitute for the power that travel has to connect people, which our world needs today more than ever before. As we connect customers around the globe, it is our responsibility to deliver on our promise to bring people together and ensure the utmost care for our environment,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a statement accompanying Friday’s announcement. “The time is now to accelerate our investments and establish an ambitious commitment that the entire Delta team will deliver.”

“When customers choose to fly Delta, they should feel they’re making a statement about taking care of our planet” added Bastian. “Our commitment to carbon neutrality means flying with Delta represents far more than a great travel experience—it’s about joining arms to create a better world.”

Delta also announced that it’s paying a record $1.6 billion in profit sharing to employees this Valentine’s Day and unveiled a special “thank you” plane featuring the names of the airline’s 90,000-plus employees.

Delta’s commitment to environmental sustainability comes one month after JetBlue revealed plans to become the first U.S. airline to offset carbon dioxide emissions.

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