The intensity of Alaska and Horizon's carbon footprint has steadily decreased year over year since 2004. CO2 emissions per revenue passenger mile have decreased by 30% since our 2004 baseline year.
Fuel conservation has always been an important goal for us at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. We invest in fleet composition, aerodynamic improvements, and innovative technologies to maintain two of the most fuel-efficient fleets in the country.
Since 2004, we've reduced the intensity of our carbon emissions by more than 30%. Our achievements in minimizing our footprint are summarized in three different categories:
The Way We Fly
A great way to save fuel and reduce emissions is to simply fly the shortest possible distance between two points. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are leading the development of efficient flight operations throughout the West through programs like these:
Required Navigation Performance (RNP): Alaska Airlines pioneered the development of Required Navigation Performance flight guidance technology (RNP) in the mid-1990s. "RNP" technology, uses a sophisticated global positioning system, and allows aircraft to fly more direct routes and at lower minimum elevations with pinpoint accuracy. Alaska Airlines remains the only domestic carrier with a 100% RNP-equipped fleet and fully-trained crews. Horizon Air is the first regional carrier to be certified for RNP Approaches.
Greener Skies: Through our "Greener Skies over Seattle" partnership with Boeing, the FAA and Port of Seattle, Alaska Airlines is working to further reduce aircraft greenhouse gas emissions and noise in the Puget Sound region. By using RNP and new procedures, aircraft can fly shorter, continuous descent approaches instead of traditional stair-step landing paths. This demonstration project serves as a role model for the FAA's Next-Gen air traffic control system.
Pre-Conditioned Air at Gates: Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air have been saving fuel and reducing emissions by providing temperature-controlled ventilation while aircraft are parked at the gates. Pre-conditioned air (PCA) units burn approximately 10 times less fuel than running the aircraft's auxiliary power unit.
What We Fly
Winglets increase the fuel efficiency of Alaska Airlines jets by 3 to 5% - or approximately 100,000 fewer gallons of fuel consumed per aircraft each year.
Over the past 6 years, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air have invested millions of dollars to own and operate the most fuel-efficient aircraft fleets in the skies. Continued investments in aerodynamic improvements further increase the fuel efficiency of our aircraft fleet.
Fleet Transition: Alaska Airlines has replaced its fleet of MD-80s with more efficient Next Generation Boeing 737s. At Horizon Air, we've transitioned to an all Q400 turboprop fleet. The Bombardier Q400 is 30-40% more fuel-efficient than a comparable jet. With an average fleet age of only 8.5 years and 5.6 years, respectively, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air operate one of the youngest, most fuel-efficient aircraft fleets in their class.
Winglets: Alaska Airlines is using winglets (the turned up extensions at the tips of the wings) to increase our fuel efficiency by 3 to 5%.
Less Weight = Less Fuel: Over the past 5 years we've reduced the weights of our catering carts, boarded less water, removed unneeded insulation blankets, and replaced heavy pilot flight bags and paper manuals with electronic tablets.
The Fuel We Use
For more information, download the entire Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest report.
In order for us to continue our record of fuel efficiency and emission reductions, we need to look towards the future. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are taking a leadership position in supporting the development, testing, and commercialization of sustainable alternative fuels.
Biofuel Flights: In November 2011, Alaska Airlines launched its first commercial flights in the United States powered by aviation biofuel. These flights demonstrate the feasibility of biofuels to power commercial planes. Tomorrow's fuels are ready to be used in today's planes, but the United States still needs to develop a viable biofuels industry to provide an adequate supply of aviation biofuels for economic growth and cleaner skies.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFN): Alaska Airlines, Boeing, Washington State University, local airports, and more than 35 other stakeholders have launched Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest, the nation's first regional stakeholder effort to explore the feasibility, challenges and opportunities for creating an aviation biofuels industry in the Pacific Northwest. The report identifies the potential pathways and actions necessary to make safe, sustainable aviation biofuel commercially available to airline operators in the area.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG): Alaska Airlines was the first domestic member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG). Through our membership with SAFUG, we have pledged to consider alternative fuels that minimize environmental impacts and drive sustainability into the global fuel supply chain. Learn More http://www.safug.org/