SEATTLE, Sept. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Alaska Airlines is ranked No. 1 in fuel efficiency in a report released today by the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. The ICCT study is the first to quantify fuel performance for U.S. airlines.
Alaska, along with its regional partner Horizon Air, led all 15 mainline U.S. carriers as the most fuel-efficient airline operating in the United States in 2010, outperforming the least fuel-efficient carrier by 26 percent.
"We have made significant investments in our fleet, technology and processes to improve our fuel performance, which is a key part of Alaska's commitment to be the airline industry leader in environmental stewardship. These sustainability efforts also help us keep our costs down in order to provide better value for our customers," said Keith Loveless, Alaska Air Group's executive vice president and general counsel. "We're proud and gratified to see our efforts validated by such an independent and respected source as the International Council on Clean Transportation."
The ICCT study looked at fuel-consumption data reported annually by airlines to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The study employed methodology developed by a team of researchers at the Federal Aviation Administration's National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research (NEXTOR) at the University of California, Berkeley, to evaluate fuel efficiency based on passenger miles between origin and destination as well as airports served and/or flight frequency. Researchers looked at fuel burned and identified inefficiencies, such as the use of older technology, circuitous routing and taxiing with two engines instead of one.
By improving its fuel efficiency in recent years, Alaska Airlines reduced its carbon emissions by 30 percent (measured by flying one passenger one mile). This reduction was accomplished through a variety of measures—most notably by migrating to exclusively flying the Boeing 737 and Bombardier Q400, the most fuel-efficient aircraft in their classes.
Alaska Airlines has also made other improvements in its sustainability efforts:
- Sustainable service ware is used for inflight meals and beverages. Additionally, Horizon Air flight attendants recycle 91 percent of all paper, plastic, aluminum and glass generated onboard while Alaska cabin crews divert 80 percent of recyclable materials.
- First-of-their-kind solar-powered boarding ramps are being used in Seattle and San Jose, Calif. This project enables passengers to enter and exit an aircraft faster by using the front and rear doors simultaneously.
- Worked with the FAA and Port of Seattle to implement new arrival routes at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport using satellite-based navigation rather than ground-based radar. The shorter routes, which became operational last spring, save fuel, lower carbon emissions and noise, and reduce pilot-controller workloads.
- Installed the first airport wind-turbine solar panel in Nome, Alaska.
- In August 2013, Alaska became the first airline to sign an agreement with Hawaii BioEnergy LLC to purchase sustainable biofuel for its Hawaii flights.
- Operated 75 passenger flights powered by a 20 percent biofuel blend in November 2011. These flights demonstrated the viability and need for an adequate, affordable and sustainable supply of alternative aviation fuel. The biofuel project grew out of Alaska Air Group's involvement in Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest, the first U.S. regional group of its kind to study alternative aviation fuels.
Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together with its partner regional airlines, serves 95 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines has ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers" in the J.D. Power and Associates North America Airline Satisfaction Study(SM) for six consecutive years from 2008 to 2013. For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines newsroom at www.alaskaair.com/newsroom.
SOURCE Alaska Air Group
Marianne Lindsey, Alaska Airlines, (206) 392-5101