According to Reuters, Delta has announced a $1 billion investment in an effort to limit air travel’s environmental impact. The investment will be made over the next decade starting this March. The effort is part of the company’s initiative to become carbon-neutral, a project which would make it the first airline to ever do so. It is estimated that global aviation is responsible for 2 percent of total carbon emissions, but that figure is expected to rise as air travel is expected to increase in the next few years.
“There’s no challenge we face that is in greater need of innovation than environmental sustainability, and we know there is no single solution,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive, in a statement. There has been an increasing concern about the global impact of burning jet fuel for travel, as well as the in-flight use of single-use plastics. In an interview with CNBC, Bastian admitted that the company will likely always use jet fuel in its aircraft, but the executive said the airliner is making its best efforts to negate the effects.
According to Delta, some of the money from the investment will be earmarked to fund research and clean technologies. But Delta hasn’t given any concrete details about how the investment will be distributed. The real-world impact of the initiative is yet to be seen. Bastian said in his CNBC interview that purchasing carbon offsets is not enough. “We need to be investing in projects that make a difference.”
Delta is one of the major airlines of the United States, along with Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and about a dozen others. It is widely recognized as the world’s largest airline. The company can trace its roots back to 1924, back when they were known as the Huff Daland Dusters crop-dusting organization. That company was sold and rebranded as the Delta Air Service after the Mississippi Delta region in which it operated. The rest is history.