We won't sugarcoat anything. We know the hard truth of the airline industry. Fuel burn is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and an airline uses a lot of fuel. The entire airline industry currently accounts for 12% of the national greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Air travel alone contributed 107 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in 2010. As a comparison, the average passenger vehicle emits 5.5 metric tons of CO2 per year.
Now for the good news: although the demand for air travel has been constantly rising — projected to reach 3.3 billion passenger trips by 2014 — the domestic airline industry reduced its fuel consumption by 21% since 2000. Since the biggest single expense for any airline is fuel cost, it's beneficial to reduce fuel consumption wherever possible. Although we understand our own bottom line, Frontier is always trying to reduce its footprint beyond what appears on our balance sheet.
The easiest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are found in fuel consumption. Frontier is currently using techniques like directional push-backs, single-engine taxi, reducing aircraft boarded weight, adding aerodynamic tweaks to aircraft, utilizing highly-efficient flight management systems and switching from engine power to ground power as quickly as possible.
We are already setting ourselves apart from other airlines in several ways. Our fleet is newer and more fuel-efficient than the average domestic fleet by 25%. Our cross-functional fuel conservation committee expects to reduce our projected fuel consumption — and therefore our emissions — by 3% in 2012, just by becoming more efficient. Of every 10 aluminum cans that are used on our aircraft, 8 are recycled in our hub facilities. Virtually 100% of the cardboard packaging received by our hub facilities is recycled. We also take our efforts off-board with a recycling program at our headquarters.
Each additional pound of weight Frontier puts on our typical aircraft (Airbus A319) for a 1000-mile segment increases carbon dioxide emission from fuel burn by about one pound of CO2 per plane. Packing lighter will reduce your CO2 footprint from travel, help us with our goal to be a more efficient airline and will make our baggage handlers very happy!
Turn your stuff off. Turn down your thermostat and your water heater; turn off your electronics (even smarter: unplug them to protect from electrical storms). What’s the point of things being on with no one there?
Greenhouse gas emissions are an unfortunate part of traveling in today's world but there are many projects that can replace CO2-generating activities. Projects range from advanced biofuel research programs to simple tree-planting or conservation initiatives. Many of these projects benefit from outside assistance for research and development, operations, or implementation. There are several websites that offer tools to calculate an appropriate donation based on miles traveled as they relate to CO2 generation; one suggestion is CarbonFund.org.
However, Frontier's recommendation is always to support a sustainable project that's meaningful to you. We encourage you to get involved in a local carbon reduction project or support a local forest as a means to compensate for travel. Frontier has partnered with The Wilderness Society because we hope to help conserve precious habitat in the United States, and because we want to support the largest carbon sinks in the country.