Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship Header
Environmental Stewardship Header

Environmental Stewardship

Environment IconUnderstanding where and how we can reduce our environmental impact is a priority embraced across our organization. From industry-leading, fuel-efficiency innovations to enhancing our modern, efficient fleet, we will achieve results for the planet we all share.

Aircraft Emissions

We are addressing the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in multiple ways by driving operating efficiencies, upgrading our fleet and advancing the sustainable aviation fuels agenda. Our approach is intended to be good for the environment and good for business.

Driving Operating Efficiencies

For more than a decade, our FuelWise program, in conjunction with our flight-planning software, has been used to identify opportunities to conserve fuel by optimizing flight speeds, altitudes, routes, climb, cruise and descent segments. FuelWise enables us to analyze fuel consumption performance to create best practices, some of which include:

  • Reduced extra fuel uplift
  • Engine-out taxi-in
  • Idle reverse thrust usage on landing
  • Contingency fuel reduction initiative
  • Route and altitude planning alignment with air traffic control assignments
Upgrading Our Fleet

Our approach to further reducing emissions includes continuing to invest in more energy-efficient aircraft. We are proud to be the world’s largest operator of Boeing 747 freighter aircraft, many of which offer industry-leading fuel efficiency, and we are the only outsource provider of Boeing’s 747-8F aircraft. Learn more about recent additions to our fleet.

Emissions Disclosures & Commitments

We participate in the following carbon emissions disclosures:

  • European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS): Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo and Southern Air have participated in EU-ETS for the aviation sector since its inception in 2010.
  • Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA): Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo and Southern Air participate in CORSIA, which was developed by the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
  • In partnership with industry peers and Airlines for America (A4A), we have adopted aviation-specific emissions targets: 1.5% average fuel efficiency improvement through 2020; carbon neutral growth from 2020 to 2035; and a 50% net reduction of CO2 in 2050, compared with 2005 levels.
Advancing the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Agenda

Atlas participates in ongoing efforts to expand the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), which can be made from vegetable oils, sugars, animal fats and even waste biomass. SAF is mixed with conventional jet fuel and used with existing aircraft engines without equipment modification. Learn about how we collaborated with a supplier on a SAF test flight.

Aircraft Noise

Minimizing the impact of aircraft noise has been a long-standing priority for Atlas. Similar to how we work to reduce aircraft emissions, we address potential aircraft noise reductions through a combination of advancements in technology and ongoing refinements in our operations.

We subscribe to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s Balanced Approach for addressing aircraft noise. This approach assumes each situation is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It identifies four strategies: noise reduction at source, land use management and planning, operational procedures and operating restrictions. In addition, we complete more frequent engine washes and other ongoing, routine maintenance to help reduce in-flight, takeoff and landing aircraft noise. We have voluntarily adjusted flight schedules to address potential concerns from community leaders in densely populated residential areas.

Resource Consumption

We are proactive on multiple fronts to minimize our facilities’ environmental footprint and reduce natural resource consumption. This includes meeting and exceeding the requirements of air quality, water and waste standards, recycling and managing our energy usage.

Committing to Protecting Our Natural Resources

We provide environmental compliance support, program management guidance, and safety and operational auditing oversight to our facilities, including a highly detailed program for onboarding new sites and facilities. We are subject to a variety of regulations administered by numerous local, state, federal and foreign agencies.

Making A Difference Where and How We Operate

Our facilities are involved in a variety of innovative, impactful initiatives that focus on reducing our impact on the environment and conserving resources, such as:

  • Recycling and waste separation programs.
  • Our Purchase, New York, headquarters building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified, in addition to hosting a large solar field on site and utilizing a local ice farm to support the majority of the cooling required for air-conditioning.
  • Donating cleaned crew blankets to homeless shelters.
  • Maximizing sustainable options for shoring and dunnage supplies such as lumber used during cargo buildup.