Delta participates in SkyTeam’s Sustainable Flight Challenge, showcases sustainability strategy in action
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Delta participates in SkyTeam’s Sustainable Flight Challenge, showcases sustainability strategy in action

Jun 30, 2023

The sky isn't the limit when it comes to testing innovations for a more sustainable future. Delta recently completed its second annual Sustainable Flight Challenge using its most fuel-efficient aircraft with roundtrip flights from Los Angeles to Atlanta (medium-haul domestic) on May 17, and Atlanta to Paris (long-haul international) on May 23.

Organized by the SkyTeam Alliance, this challenge tasks participating airlines around the world to activate around passenger flights with sustainability in mind to help accelerate innovation throughout the industry.

“We’re excited to showcase so many parts of Delta’s sustainability strategy in action at the same time to reduce waste and emissions across the travel experience and our operations,” said Pam Fletcher, Delta’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Sustainability isn’t only good for our planet, it’s a business imperative that requires meaningful action today. That’s why this year’s flights focused on scalable solutions that can be put into play more broadly in the short and medium terms. We’re excited to share our findings with SkyTeam partners – and learn from their efforts – as we continue to accelerate the more sustainable future of travel.”

Delta’s sustainability roadmap focuses on two pillars: embedding sustainability in everything the airline does and eliminating the company’s climate impact from flying. This year’s flights showcased a variety of actions organized under these pillars, demonstrating that Delta is acting to reduce its carbon footprint while testing new innovations to make progress on its strategy.

From enhancing the travel experience with bagasse and bamboo cutlery, eco-conscious bedding and a menu from locally sourced regenerative farms to encouraging a sustainable supply chain and investing in ground operations & facilities, Delta showed off actions it’s taking to advance sustainability in the near and medium term. Key highlights include:

The company also showcased the efforts it’s making in advancing how they fly by creating more efficient aircraft operations and using sustainable aviation fuel. Key highlights included:

“No single company can decarbonize the aviation industry – it will take all of us working together and doing more than our part to be successful,” said Amelia DeLuca, Delta’s Vice President of International Customer Experience and Partner Sustainability. “That’s what this challenge is all about. Challenging ourselves and our SkyTeam partners to identify new scalable solutions and then share best practices to accelerate sustainable action across the industry.”

During the 2022 flight challenge, Delta replaced single-use plastic cold cups with reusable cups for the first time. This change, along with other purposeful substitutions, reduced total single-use plastics onboard by 81% compared to the average amount used on the same route. This effort resulted in the award for the “Best Sustainable Innovation – Inflight,” and Delta has continued testing since then to bring this solution to life in working towards its 2025 goal of minimizing single-use plastic on board.

Read more about Delta’s path to sustainability here.

*As it relates to consumer onboard travel experience, excluding other aspects of aircraft operations.

EMBEDDING SUSTAINABILITY IN EVERYTHING DELTA DOESTesting alternatives for plastic cups: Minimizing waste onboard:Electrifying ground support equipment (GSE):ELIMINATING DELTA’S CLIMATE IMPACT FROM FLYINGReducing potable water in the air:Using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF):