Go Green or Stay Grounded: How Can Airlines Adapt Sustainability?

03 October 2021
5 min read

The globe needs quick action before it’s too late for future generations, and airlines are the first ones to blame when it comes to climate change. Sustainability in the airline industry; a burning question for the next-gen.

Green policies. For some, we do not hear about them nearly enough. For others, green policies are not suitable for the way the world revolves. No matter what anybody thinks, the first group is getting larger every day, forcing governments and billion-dollar companies to change their approaches. According to a survey by Pew Research, 64% of US citizens think that the government should take action in protecting the environment. The trend is illustrated in the chart below.

Source: Pew Research Center

Green policies have come to the point where they now have a place in the marketing strategies of world-leading companies. Apple is a great example, as the company claims its goal is to be 100% carbon neutral by 2030.

Tech companies like Apple are some of the most significant contributors to unsustainability, and on the customer front strategies such as going carbon neutral. Another industry that’s on a bumpy road in the new green world is the aviation industry. According to IATA’s report, 2-3% of the global carbon emissions come from aviation, and IATA claims that whether the industry likes it or not, they will have to meet the rules of the new green world halfway. The important thing is taking action, even if the steps are small before governments make them mandatory. For example, only a couple of weeks ago, France banned flights that could be covered by train in under 2hr30min to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. In this article, we will share how airlines are adapting to the green trend and what else can be done for a better world.

Sustainability in The Airline Industry: The Biggest Convict, Fuel!

Of course, airplane fuel, which is mainly kerosene, is the most significant contributor to the high carbon dioxide emissions of the aviation industry. However, thanks to developments in technology, sustainable jet fuel alternatives are emerging. Lauren Riley, the Managing Director of Global Environmental Affairs and Sustainability at United Airlines, claims that sustainable aviation fuel is available today and that it emits up to 80% less carbon on a lifecycle basis. It may seem like a simple solution to the main problem in the industry, but there is a big challenge: production.

DW’s piece on the matter reveals that the current production level of sustainable aviation fuels is at around 50 million litres per year, but experts believe that approximately 7 billion litres would be necessary to allow it to compete with conventional jet fuel. Even for the biggest buyers of sustainable jet fuel, like United Airlines, sustainable energy makes up only 1% of the power they burn. Still, the demand will rise, and we can hope for better, more sustainable aviation in the future.

Evaluating the In-Flight Experience Doesn’t Fix the Problem, But It Helps

Another cause of the environmental hazard is waste, and although airlines are not predominantly to blame, they create a considerable amount of it. It may not change the world, but as we stated above, every little step helps, and redesigning the in-flight experience with recycled and reusable materials is one of the best ways to participate.

For a couple of years, airlines that are trying to adapt to the new green world have been making changes to their in-flight services. The US budget airline, Frontier Airlines, has redesigned its flight experience and turned its green strategies into a marketing opportunity with a new motto: “America’s Greenest Airline.” In addition, in 2019, the company planted enough trees to offset the flight’s carbon footprint for a “Green Week” event.

Of course, the flight experience doesn’t begin when passengers step on the plane. It starts long before, during the passenger’s ticket-hunting process. Offering a unified flight experience that lets passengers make ticket purchases, in-flight meal and entertainment selections, luggage claims and more on the same platform adds value to the occasion. Having control of the whole process allows the airline to emphasize its efforts to go greener on the airline front. Here at Tmob, we offer an airline platform that does everything and more. The best thing is, all of our platforms are highly customizable! See what you can do with our Unified Airline Module here.

Show That You’re Truthful with Sponsorships

It may seem like an oxymoron, but sponsoring sustainability causes is another way for airlines to offset their footprints and positively impact. We still live in a capitalist order, and everything is possible when money is in the picture. Of course, funding Greenpeace is not the goal here, but Frontier Airlines demonstrates one of the best ways to go. Whether it’s a mini-event or something more significant, the best way to do it is to let your passengers participate in the whole process. You can perform mini-surveys for your passengers using your mobile apps, send notifications, and see what they think about a greener flight experience. 

Who are We?

Tmob | Thinks Mobility is a global technology powerhouse, specialized in digitalization and integration solutions, bringing growth and success to businesses and partners with its innovative SaaS, PaaS, and premium solutions since 2009 with Tmob Turkiye (TR) and Tmob United Kingdom (UK) headquarters.



1 How Americans see climate change and the environment in 7 charts | Pew Research Center

2 IATA - Climate Change

3 French Lawmakers Ban Short Domestic Flights, But... | One Mile at a Time

4 United Airlines: ′No choice′ but to go green | Environment| All topics from climate change to conservation | DW | 09.04.2021

5 https://news.flyfrontier.com/frontier-airlines-kicks-off-green-week-with-americas-greenest-flight/


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