We're flying toward a greener tomorrow

Flying toward a greener tomorrow

With 32,000 employees in more than 200 cities around the world, we take our responsibility to protect our natural resources and the environment very seriously. That's why we've been taking steps to reduce waste, increase recycling and conserve natural energy sources like fuel to reduce our environmental impact.

We're looking into fuel alternatives like biodiesel, a blend of soybean oil (upwards of 20 percent) and diesel fuel, which produces fewer emissions, uses less petroleum in manufacturing and extends the life of the engine.

We're also replacing older fossil-fueled ground support equipment (GSE), such as tugs and belt loaders, with alternative-fueled equipment that uses electric, natural gas and propane instead. To date, 15 percent of our motorized GSE fleet has been replaced with alternative-fuel versions.

Reduced carbon emissions

  • 42.4 million pounds of CO2 and 13.5 million pounds of fuel are saved annually by the winglets on our B757 fleet. The winglets reduce drag, improve efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Taxiing to/from the runway using 1 engine instead of 2 reduces fuel burn by approximately 40 percent – that's 8.8 million pounds of CO2 and 2.8 million pounds of fuel saved annually.
  • US Airways saves approximately 213,000 gallons of fuel annually by reminding our pilots to slow down and stay on schedule.
  • When possible, electric ground power units are used instead of auxiliary power units to reduce fuel burn. One hour operating an electric ground power unit, instead of an APU, saves 50-60 gallons of fuel.
  • An airspace redesign for flight arrivals into Phoenix saves 100 pounds of fuel and 300 pounds of CO2 on every flight, or 1 million gallons of fuel and 11,000 tons of CO2 annually. We’re doing the same in Charlotte with greater efficiencies expected.
  • US Airways unveiled 8 new low-emission shuttle buses to transport passengers between concourses at Philadelphia International Airport. The new buses use 75 percent less fuel than their diesel-powered predecessors.
  • We’re modernizing our fleet by replacing Boeing 737s with Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. This provides a 15-20 percent fuel burn improvement measure per available seat mile (ASM).

Alternative fuels

  • US Airways uses biodiesel in belt loaders and tugs in Philadelphia, Portland, Ore. and Rochester, N.Y. State mandates created incentives that made biodiesel widely available and affordable.
  • We’re preparing to use bioglycol (98 percent soybean) for deicing aircraft during the 2011-2012 winter operations in Richmond, VA and Nashville, TN.
  • US Airways is engaged in research and pursuit of alternative fuels through the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). As part of a collective effort, we have entered into multiple agreements to purchase a combination of alternative fuels for use in aircraft and ground equipment including 75 million gallons per year of jet fuel and diesel fuel derived from camelina oils or comparable feedstock; 250 million gallons per year of synthetic jet fuel derived principally from coal or petroleum coke and 1.5 million gallons per year of synthetic diesel fuel for use in ground equipment at Los Angeles International Airport.

We're building green on the ground at our corporate headquarters, operations control center and our new ground support building in Philadelphia.

Corporate Headquarters in Phoenix

  • LEED* Gold Certified Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance
  • Only airline with a LEED-certified corporate headquarters
  • Only building in Arizona with 11 consecutive years of ENERGY STAR** certification
  • Overall, the building uses 31 percent less water than comparable office buildings and is 45 percent more energy efficient when compared to the national average office building

Operations Control Center (OCC) in Pittsburgh

  • LEED Certified (and the only OCC with LEED certification)
  • 25% more efficient than a conventional building with 20% energy cost savings.
  • More than 40% of building materials contain high levels of recycled content
  • 96% of construction and demolition debris was recycled

Ground Service Equipment Facility in Philadelphia

  • On target to be a 'Silver Certified' LEED Building in 2012
  • 38% of building materials contain high levels of recycled content
  • 29% of building materials were extracted and manufactured locally
  • 80% of new-wood materials were obtained from a forest that is certified sustainable

*LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building provides levels of energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and sensitivity to environmental impacts. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED rating system offers four certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

**ENERGY STAR is a voluntary government program that helps Americans save energy and money with tested and proven energy-efficient products and practices. In 2006 alone, with the help of ENERGY STAR, Americans saved $14 billion on their energy bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to those from 25 million vehicles.

Since 2006, all maintenance paperwork, whether it’s checks or unscheduled maintenance, has been scanned and captured electronically rather than being stored in paper form. That means we’re recycling about 30 tons of paper per year in our maintenance division alone. Electronic automated maintenance alert notification process eliminated the need to print out 75,000 sheets of paper per year.

We also collect and recycle batteries, phones and radios, and the money from recycling these materials benefits the US Airways Education Foundation, which provides college scholarships to dependents of employees. We are also in the process of implementing a program to recycle 12,000 square yards of carpet per year. That’s enough to carpet 54 average size (2,000 sq. ft.) homes.

Materials such as waste oil, aluminum, scrap metals and other tools from all maintenance and ground service equipment locations are sent to recycling centers and we reuse engine coolants when possible. In 2010 we recycled 5,265 gallons of oil for aircraft maintenance in Phoenix alone. We are in the process of expanding the oil recycling program to other locations.

In April 2011, we switched all paper products in our lavatories on mainline flights – tissue paper, toilet paper and paper towels – to Environmental Protection Agency-approved recycled products. And in September 2011, we switched to brown non-bleached paper towels, which are also better for the environment.

We've also begun recycling all seatback pocket paper material with a goal to recycle 100 percent of that material in the coming months.

We recycle aluminum cans in many locations and donate some of the proceeds to local charities and to The Pegasus Project, which provides short-term emergency grants for employees of US Airways. We're working to implement a systemwide recycling program.