United Airlines just incorporated a corporate sustainability program, the first of any of the major airlines to do so. The have been first in a number of areas where sustainability is concerned, such as: 1) They were the first to sign on to the United Nations Global Compact; 2) They were the first to switch to synthetic fuel; 3) They were the first to operate a “Green Coridor,” a route that is fuel efficient; 4) Their ground vehicles run on electric and/or alternative fuel. Though United Airlines is currently losing money, they are doing the most to become fuel efficient and, because they are the biggest in terms of passangers carried, other airlines are sure to follow.
At the moment, the US does not offer much in the way of sustainable air travel. However, in recent years, many air lines have made an effort to have a more positive impact on the environment than they’ve had in the past. One popular means of improving their standing with the environment has been to offer carbon offsets to customers, as Delta and Continental do. Delta also offers an in-flight recycling program. Outside the US, greater progress is being made by airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic, which recently announced its development of a new low-carbon jet fuel.
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