oneworld airlines and the environment

We all share one world - and oneworld® member airlines are all determined to do everything they can to care for that world.

Each has its own comprehensive programme for minimising its impact on the environment - programmes which are widely recognised as being among the most responsible and progressive in the industry.

As a cornerstone of this commitment, the alliance's member airlines are in the midst of re-equipping their fleets with a total of more than 1,325 new aircraft that are more fuel efficient, produce less greenhouse gases and are quieter - an investment more than US$150 billion.

Since the year 2000, they have taken delivery of more than 675 of these more environmentally friendly aircraft, worth in excess of US$65 billion, with outstanding orders for another 651 for delivery in the coming years, worth more than US$90 billion.

They are also all active participants and supporters of environmental activities co-ordinated by the international industry bodies - globally by IATA (the International Air Transport Association) and regionally by the Association of European Airlines, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, the USA's Air Transport Association and the counterparts elsewhere.

Many of them are also leading participants in industry efforts to develop cleaner, more sustainable aviation fuels and in groups working towards equitable global approaches towards handling the industry's emissions compliance and trading.

While their efforts are focused on these three levels, oneworld too makes its own contribution to each of their environmental efforts.  For instance, oneworld in April 2005 became the first global airline grouping to enable passengers to connect between flights operated by any member airline using electronic tickets only - eradicating each year millions of traditional paper tickets which were thrown away after use.

Also, oneworld airlines are individually and collectively working with authorities responsible for airports and air traffic control (ATC) to address the single largest cause of fuel wastage in the industry - inefficient management of air traffic space.

Airlines connect people, places and cultures and help keep commerce in business. We're proud of that.  But we recognise that the freedom air travel brings has an impact.  That is why oneworld airlines are leading the industry in minimising the environmental effects of air travel.

Read about some of the key steps each of them are taking.  For more information, follow the links to the appropriate sections of their websites.

The global perspective

The airline industry as a whole generates less than 2 per cent of the world's total CO2 emissions - less than the world's cattle and a sixth of the CO2 output generated by road transport.

Today's passenger aircraft are typically 70 per cent more fuel efficient than those of 40 years ago, and 20 per cent better than those of just ten years ago.

Latest models - like the Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s ordered by various oneworld member airlines - burn three litres per 100 kilometres (78.5 miles per gallon) per passenger.  This is helping make aviation one of the more fuel efficient forms of transport available.

Today's aircraft are typically 50 per cent quieter than those of ten years ago and some 20 decibels quieter than those of 30 years ago. The "noise footprint" of a typical new jetliner is 15 per cent smaller than the aircraft they replace.

Air transport delivers mankind and the world with many benefits. According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), the total economic impact of air transport on gross world output is at least US$1,360 billion.  It provides 28 million jobs worldwide, rising to 31 million by 2010.

An industry responsible for 2 per cent of the world's CO2 emissions generates 8 per cent of world economic activity.

Now the world's airlines are working towards the target, set by IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani at the association's 2007 annual summit, of zero CO2 emissions within 50 years.

IATA's 240 member airlines have agreed a four-pillar strategy on climate change:

  • Invest in new technology
  • Build and use efficient infrastructure
  • Operate aircraft effectively
  • Consider positive economic measures while working with governments to define an emissions trading scheme that is fair, global and voluntary.
  • For more information on the global airline industry's environmental position, see


American Airlines

In 2007, American Airlines established a long-term goal of increasing fuel efficiency 30 per cent between 2005 and 2025. American remains committed to this goal despite the difficult times the company, as well as the rest of the airline industry, is enduring.

After three years, efficiency improved 3.2 per cent versus a target improvement of 4.5 per cent.  The airline has a plan to get it back on track.

Its fleet replacement programme began in 2009 with the delivery of new Boeing 737s to replace its less efficient MD80s. In coming years, American will also take delivery of 42 Boeing 787 "Dreamliners," which are the most efficient aircraft of their size.

These modern 737s and 787s are also a great deal quieter than the aircraft they are replacing. Meantime, the airline is also adding winglets to its established aircraft - and these not only save fuel burn but also make them quieter too.

American's Fuel Smart programme has matured into a steady source of fuel savings initiatives that in 2008 resulted in a reduction of 111 million gallons of fuel. The goal is to increase this to 120 million gallons by the end of 2009.

American actively participates in industry efforts to promote environmentally friendly alternative fuels. The airline continues to work with the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) which is a consortium of airlines, government agencies, manufacturers, airports, and current and prospective fuel suppliers.

Its Utility Management Council's efforts resulted in a savings of more than US$2.3 million of annual direct energy that would otherwise have been purchased and used since American began tracking its performance in this area in 2005. In 2008, efforts focused on:

  • Lighting technology upgrades at various locations
  • A new boiler water treatment system installed at Tulsa
  • A new cargo building roof at Dallas Fort/Worth which went from black to white, reducing cooling costs
  • Turning off vending machines lights
  • Upgrading air conditioning systems at Dallas/Fort Worth gates to improve efficiency for aircraft and jetbridges.

American is trying to reduce or eliminate paper from many of its workflows. It has completely eliminated ticket paper jackets, saving 500,000 lbs of paper through this initiative alone.

The group is committed to recycling waste materials, where practical, and to promoting employee awareness and empowering them to identify additional ways to conserve resources used to conduct its business.

Its most recent reports on corporate and environmental responsibility can be found online at:

British Airways

British Airways aims to be the world's most responsible airline. To this end, the environment is one of the prime areas on which it focuses as part of its "One Destination" corporate responsiblity programme.

British Airways believes that aviation should play its full part in addressing climate change - and the airline has a good track record in this area.

It has already delivered a 28 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency since 1990 - equivalent to three times its annual carbon emissions.

It is the only airline in the world to have participated in a carbon emissions trading scheme. During this time it reduced C02 emissions by 23 per cent.

Its ultimate aim is to reduce net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 with an intermediate goal of becoming 25 per cent more carbon efficient by 2025.

These goals will be achieved by concentrating on four main areas:

  • Investing in cleaner aircraft.
  • Use of alternative fuels
  • More efficient flight routings and operational procedures.
  • Campaigning for the spread of emissions trading from Europe to the whole world.

Environmental performance is a priority for British Airways when selecting any future aircraft. It has orders for new cleaner, quieter Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s which will reduce emissions by up to 30 per cent per aircraft.

British Airways is working with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce on a test programme on practical alternative fuels to jet kerosene. Progress in this area has been very encouraging.

The airline is also trialing various procedures to improve operational performance and reduce fuel burn - taxiing aircraft with one engine switched off, for example, and testing advanced navigation systems to aid aircraft arriving at Heathrow.

British Airways was the first airline to offer customers the chance to offset their flight emissions, and the first airline to produce an environmental report, back in 1992, and has done so annually since.

British Airways is a member of the Aviation Global Deal Group which is calling for carbon emissions from international aviation to be included in a new global climate deal. The airline believes carbon trading is the most effective and economically efficient way to reduce net carbon emissions.

The airline's environmental performance is not just focused on flying. It has recently invested more than £25 million on a new fleet of 550 airport vehicles as part of its move to Terminal 5 in 2008. The new vehicles, including baggage tractors, loading equipment and passenger buses, will help the airline to reduce its ground emissions at Heathrow.

It is also working hard to reduce the impact of waste it generates. It aims to recycle 50 per cent of its waste by 2010 and send no UK waste to landfill by 2010.  It is currently recycling 30 per cent of waste from Heathrow and Gatwick.

For more information on British Airways' corporate responsibility programme, One Destination, please visit

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific and its sister airline, Dragonair,  which is also part of oneworld, were the first airlines in Asia to launch a voluntary carbon offset scheme for their passengers in December 2007. They are also the first airlines in the world to offer customers the option of using cash or frequent flyer miles to pay for their offsets.

The two airlines also offset the carbon emissions associated with staff travelling on business, paying almost HK$1 million (US$130,000) in 2007 and 2008. To highlight the extension of their "FLY greener" scheme to commercial passengers, both Cathay Pacific and Dragonair matched the contributions dollar for dollar for the first three months of the programme.

To offset their travel, passengers can access the "FLY greener" site at the Cathay Pacific or Dragonair websites and use the online calculator to work how much it will cost to offset their emissions based on the distance of their flight and the class of travel.

The offsets were initially sourced from a wind farm project in Shanghai - one of the first to employ high-capacity turbines in Mainland China. The wind farm's production of clean energy reduces the demand for coal-fired power stations in the region and helps to reduce pollution. In 2009 the offset scheme has expanded its project portfolio to include a natural gas project in Beijing, a group of wind turbines in Heilongjiang and a run-of-river hydro project in Sanchawan.

Cathay Pacific has improved its fuel efficiency by 22.5 per cent relative to its passenger traffic since it began measuring its performance consistently in 1998, its latest Corporate Social Responsibility Report states.

This is a result not just of introducing new aircraft, but also through initiatives such as aircraft weight reduction, extensive maintenance of its existing fleet and by assisting in the negotiation of more direct and efficient flight routes.

Cathay Pacific has a fleet of 123 aircraft (as of June 2009), with an average age of 10 years. Since 2000, it has taken delivery of 69 new, more efficient aircraft, worth US$15.1 billion. It has outstanding orders for another 35 of the latest types, worth another US$9.4 billion, including 19 Boeing 777-300ERs, 10 Boeing 747-8Fs and six Airbus A330-300s.

Its latest passenger aircraft type, the Boeing 777-300ER, which entered service in October 2007, uses a new type of paint that provides a smoother finish, reducing aerodynamic drag resulting in less fuel burn. In another move to a more efficient fleet, the airline will soon complete the retirement of its older, less fuel-efficient Boeing 747-200F "Classic" freighters.

Dragonair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific and an affiliate member of oneworld, operates a fleet of 33 aircraft, with two Airbus A330-300s and two Airbus A320s on order. The removal of the older "Classics" from the Dragonair fleet was completed in January 2009.

Cathay Pacific monitors emissions from its headquarters offices and from its ground vehicles, and takes fuel efficiency and emissions as key considerations in ground vehicle replacement.

To help reduce the waste it generates, in 2006 the airline started recycling aluminum cans and plastic bottles from flights into its Hong Kong hub, extending this more recently to include plastic cups.

To support innovation, Cathay Pacific uses solar power to heat dishwashing water and has an experimental wind turbine generating electricity for office lighting.

For more about Cathay Pacific's corporate social responsibility initiatives, see


Iberia was in 2008, for the fourth year running, one of only three airlines worldwide listed in the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index, in recognition of its business, social, and environmental practices. This recognizes Iberia's position as one of the most advanced airlines worldwide in its approach to environmental issues throughout its business.

Iberia's main goal for dealing with climate change is to reduce its emissions, while achieving sustained, efficient growth. There are two key elements behind this strategy - using the most efficient, modern aircraft and operating them as efficiently as possible.

Its fleet, as of 31 May 2009, comprised 114 aircraft - with 90 of them new, more efficient types delivered since the year 2000, worth a total of US$7.5 billion. As they have arrived, Iberia has withdrawn 141 older, less efficient models from service. In the past five years alone, it has retired 76 aircraft and incorporated 60 new ones. By the end of 2008 Iberia grounded its last MD80s, one year earlier than it was originally planned. These new aircraft saving 15 per cent on the older models they have replaced.

By the end of 2009, it will take delivery of two more new A340-600 - worth another US$500 million.

The average age of Iberia's fleet is 7.15 years, which is significantly younger than the industry (IATA) average of around 11 years.

Iberia has taken many steps to ensure it operates its fleet as efficiently as possible. For example, it has reduced the amount of fuel each aircraft needs to carry by reassigning airports for diversions that a closer to scheduled destinations. It has also installed new cabin interiors, including seats that are lighter than the versions they have replaced. Even the paint it uses on its aircraft's exteriors is lighter than the type previously used.

Iberia pilots use the most efficient routeings in-flight and taxi-ing process on the ground. Landing manoeuvres too have also been optimised, using the most efficient Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) method wherever possible.

To make sure its aircraft are as clean as possible - reducing the drag caused by dirty fuselages and avoiding the inefficiencies from dirty engines - Iberia has also increased the frequency of washing its aircraft exteriors and engines.

These various steps have contributed to a 17 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions per unit over the past five years. In 2008 alone, the airline reduced its CO2 emissions by more than 4.5 per cent.

Iberia calculates that the number of people living around airports and under flight paths impacted by noise from aviation has been reduced by 35 per cent since 1998. Its new Airbus A320s are 48 per cent quieter than the Boeing MD87s and 88s they are replacing, with half the noise footprint.

On the ground, the greenhouse gases from Iberia's ground vehicles and buildings account for approximately 2.5 per cent of the company's total emissions. The company is working hard to reduce them wherever possible.

A key step in 2008 was the commissioning of its new aircraft paint hangar, which uses cutting-edge technology for its lighting, air control and conditioning and insulation, and uses paint that is far more environmentally friendly than the previous type. Also in 2008, the airline renovated the gear section of its Madrid maintenance, repair and overhaul workshop, resulting in a 10 per cent cut in emissions.

In 2009, the company is investing more than EUR1 million to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings, by installing solar panels on maintenance hangars, building a photovoltaic solar energy plant and replacing existing generators.

Iberia has been at the forefront of the industry's move from paper to electronic ticketing and other processes, both for passengers and cargo, and it takes steps wherever possible to eliminate paper from its business. It is also an airline leader in the field of waste disposal and recycling. For more information, see


Finnair has set as its goal to become the airline of choice for quality and environmentally conscious passengers in intercontinental travel in the northern hemisphere.

It takes environmental matters into consideration in everything it does with its modern, low-emission fleet and the use of the shortest intercontinental routes the cornerstones of its eco-efficient operations.

It offers the most direct flights between Europe and Asia, thanks to the geographical position of its Helsinki home.

Finnair has one the most modern fleets in Europe, with its aircraft today consuming on average 25 per cent less fuel than in 1999.

As at May 2009, it operated 68 aircraft, with an average age of just 6 years. Since the year 2000, it has taken delivery of 58 new, more efficient aircraft, worth US$3 billion, and retired 40 older types. It currently has outstanding orders for 20 more aircraft, worth another US$2 billion.

It retired the last of its Boeing MD80 fleet in summer 2006, replaced with Embraer 170s and 190s, and is now substituting it MD11s with Airbus A330s, which release 20 per cent less emissions. Its new Airbus A350XWBs will be introduced from 2014, reducing emissions by a third.

Like other oneworld members, Finnair has a focus on recycling, and collects aluminum, glass and some plastics on all flights.

For more information on Finnair's environmental programme, see the latest Corporate Responsibility Report at and the responsibility web pages at

Japan Airlines

For more than 15 years, Japan Airlines (JAL) has been implementing a variety of measures designed to reduce and offset the impact its business activities have on the environment. It aims to reduce its environmental footprint by cutting fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions by 20 per cent in the 20 years to 2010 and has already achieved a 15 per cent reduction since 1990.

By the end of March 2009, the group's fleet stood at a total of 279 aircraft - of which 67 have been delivered in the past five years - with outstanding orders for some 90 new aircraft, worth around US$13.5 billion at list prices, including 35 Boeing 787. To date, it has already taken delivery of two of the ten Embraer 170s ordered.

As part of its fleet renewal process, 29 older aircraft have been withdrawn from service in the past two years alone, brining the average age of its fleet down to 11.1 years. It plans to decommission up to 23 more aircraft and introduce 18 new ones during the current financial year, and completely retire its final six Boeing 747 Classics.

JAL has also been actively participating in projects that encourage the use of more fuel-efficient flight operation methods at various airports and, most significantly, it strongly supports the search for a viable, sustainable, second-generation biofuel for commercial use by the aviation industry. In January 2009, it successfully operated a demonstration flight partially powered by a biofuel blend comprising primarily of camelina, a high-oil content, energy crop.

In yet another way of reducing its fuel usage, JAL is cutting the weight of items on its aircraft. It estimates that 1 kg (2.2 lb) trimmed from each aircraft would reduce CO2 emissions across its fleet by 76 tons a year. As such, weight of cutlery used on board has been reduced, and it is gradually switching to using lighter-material cargo containers - each of them 26kg lighter than their forerunners.

In addition, it is making more use of flight simulators to reduce actual flight training hours and has adopted more stringent procedures for loading cargo to ensure the aircraft's centre of gravity is at the optimum position to reduce wind drag while operating more of its freighters in bare metal, saving the weight of paint.

On the ground, JAL is supporting the Japanese government's energy-saving Team Minus 6% initiative, reducing levels of office heating in winter and cooling in summer, cutting CO2 emissions by more than 75 tonnes a year. It is also recycling everything it can - from aluminum cans and paper through to old uniforms and polythene sheets - and adopts a green procurement policy whenever possible, for instance only now buying wooden chopsticks made from sustainable timber.

This eco-drive is a company-wide effort, and many of the group's maintenance, property and hotel activities have gained ISO environmental accreditation. Taking it beyond the company, the airline also joins environmental-conservation organisations in their fight against global warming.

Forests help reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and JAL has been supporting the Boreal Forest Fire Control Initiative and other similar projects to prevent or contain wild fires that damage these forests through early detection, information gathering and analyses. JAL's pilots flying over Siberia, Alaska and Indonesia have been reporting any fire outbreaks they spot, with more than 500 blazes reported in the past five years.

Collaborating with the Meteorological Research Institute of the Japan Meteorological Agency on tropospheric-observation projects since 1993, JAL has been helping to monitor greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere by specially fitting air sample collection and measuring equipment on its aircraft. The programme now involves five JAL aircraft measuring the composition of the upper atmosphere on international routes and the data collected will help scientists better understand the causes and effects of global warming.

Covering another front in the fight against global warming, JAL also started conducting an environmental education programme titled Soraiku (Sky Education), mainly for school children in Japan and China. Captains of the group share with the children about the state of the environment as can be seen from the air with the aim of imparting to the next generation, the importance of protecting the environment.

For more information on JAL's environmental programmes, see


LAN´s commitments do not stop at taking care of its passengers and other customers - but also to embracing the huge challenge of helping to preserve the environment.

Even though the impact of commercial aviation on global warming is relatively small, LAN has shouldered the responsibility to control and minimize the effects of its own operations through a series of initiatives.

LAN is well advanced on one of the industry's most comprehensive fleet re-equipment programmes, incorporating latest-generation planes that adhere to the highest environmental standards.

It has on order for its longhaul fleet 32 new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, widely considered as among the most environmentally advanced aircraft.

Its shorthaul fleet re-equipment was completed in May 2008, with the retirement of the last of its Boeing 737-200s, to be replaced, since the year 2000, with 53 Airbus A320 family types, including A318s, A319s and A320s, all equipped with the latest technology in the industry and a new environmental management system (EMS) based on the ISO 14001 standard that ensures they comply with stringent criteria throughout their service lives. They are also highly fuel-efficient, reducing CO2 emissions per seat kilometre by 35 per cent and causing much less noise pollution.

To reduce the environmental impact of its longhaul fleet, LAN is also investing US$70 million in a programme to fit its Boeing 767-300s with winglets, reducing each aircraft's CO2 emissions by some 5 per cent and reducing their fuel burn by a total of some 450,000 tons a year.

To complement its fleet renewal plans, the airline formed a "Green Committee" in 2008, bringing together representatives from across the company's operational areas. Its aim is to achieve maximum levels of environmental efficiency through a variety of initiatives and projects, and to promote an environmentally friendly operation through communications. Among the key outcomes already are steps to reduce aircraft loads and use of auxiliary generators, and measures to adopt the best possible flight and ground movement procedures.

LAN has been at the cutting edge of the industry's move to electronic tickets. More than 90 per cent of its passengers now use e-tickets, significantly reducing the paper the company prints.

It has also launched a campaign internally to encourage employees to be as efficient as possible in their use of electricity, printing, photocopying and so on. A percentage of the savings achieved is being donated to Coaniquem, a charity that runs rehabilitation centres in Chile for child burn victims. LAN also participates in a paper recycling program to raise funds for the Garraham Children's Hospital in Argentina and a similar initiative to support the foundation San José adoption agency in Chile.

LAN takes a responsible approach to any waste it creates. More than 500 computers and printers were reconditioned and donated in Peru and Chile during 2007 alone. It promotes recycling wherever possible, with proceeds used to support a range of charities in South America. For instance, cardboard, newspapers, magazines, paper, bottles, cans, glass, pallets, corks, clingfilm and plastic used on board flights is all recycled saving, the airline calculates, the equivalent of 925,000 kgs in CO2 during 2008 alone.

Every email sent within the airline and externally carries a message on protecting the environment: "Our next destination, a better world. Please do not print this email unless it is necessary."

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