CHICAGO, April 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines is honoring Earth Month by announcing its new goal to save 85 million gallons of fuel in 2013, equivalent to 828,750 metric tons of CO2 or roughly $275 million dollars at current fuel prices. Fuel is the airline's single largest expense and its primary focus environmentally, and the company has several initiatives in place that will allow it to achieve its fuel efficiency goal.
"We are committed to reducing our fuel consumption and our environmental footprint," said United's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smisek . "I am proud of the actions we take every day throughout the year that help shape a more sustainable future for our customers, our co-workers and the communities we serve."
United has already improved its fuel efficiency by 32 percent since 1994 through programs such as improved flight planning, single engine taxiing, lighter products onboard, and use of ground power instead of the onboard auxiliary power unit to save fuel and reduce carbon emissions while aircraft are parked.
The airline is also investing in a modern, fuel-efficient fleet to replace less fuel-efficient aircraft. In 2012, United ordered 150 brand-new Boeing 737 narrowbody aircraft powered by fuel-efficient CFM engines. In addition to purchasing new aircraft, United is also improving the performance of its current fleet. The airline was the launch customer for the new Split Scimitar winglet, which is an advanced and improved winglet for the 737 Next-Gen aircraft and helps the aircraft consume up to 25 percent less fuel per seat than the 737-500 aircraft the company is retiring. United already has other winglets installed on more than 300 of its aircraft, including its entire Boeing 737 fleet and many of its 757 and 767 aircraft. Winglets reduce drag on the aircraft, ultimately reducing fuel burn and carbon emissions by up to five percent.
United's fuel savings initiatives are part of the company's larger commitment to environmental sustainability under its Eco-Skies program.
United has a genuine commitment to responsible actions that reduce its impact on the environment through its Eco-Skies program. Eco-Skies is designed to make a positive impact on the environment – in the air, on the ground, at United's facilities, with its business partners and across communities the airline serves.
Highlights of United's Eco-Skies program include:
United operated the first U.S. passenger biofuel flight powered with a mixture of renewable algae-derived jet fuel and conventional jet fuel, and signed letters of intent to negotiate the purchase of more than 50 million gallons of sustainable biofuels.
United launched the Eco-Grants initiative which provides $50,000 cash grants to 10 local environmental organizations that the airline's employees volunteer with in their communities, with volunteer projects starting this month and taking place throughout the country.
United spearheaded the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI), in partnership with Boeing, Honeywell's UOP, the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust, to advance commercialization of cost-competitive aviation biofuels.
More than 24% percent of United's ground equipment fleet is electric or alternatively fueled.
During the last six years, United recycled more than 20 million pounds of cans, paper and plastic items from waste generated inflight and at its facilities resulting in a net reduction of 28,700 metric tons of carbon emissions – or an equivalent of removing over 5,000 cars from the road over that same time period.
Eco-Teams, comprised of cross-divisional representatives, are at every hub and major facility.
United's enhanced carbon offset program allows its customers to calculate and offset the carbon footprint associated with their air travel and cargo shipments.
For more information on United's environmental commitment, visit www.united.com/ecoskies.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,472 flights a day to 381 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on nearly 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. United is a founding member of Star Alliance , which provides service to 194 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL