Can An Airline Be Green? Hawaiian Airlines Has Made Major Steps Toward Sustainability

Flying is one of those activities that is not, by its nature, environmentally friendly. However, Hawaiian Airlines has made a major push to become one of the most environmentally conscious and sustainable airlines around. In 2016, Hawaiian Airlines became the first carrier to operate a demonstration flight between Auckland and Honolulu showcasing best practices in operational performance. Its goal was to significantly reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions. That nine hour flight was able to save 3,260 pounds of fuel, reducing carbon emissions by five metric tons. And the airline adopted seven environmental markers outlined by the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE), a group of worldwide aviation leaders dedicated to creating greener flights.

Hawaiian Airlines is also lowering its carbon footprint by decreasing its use of jet fuel to power its planes to the gate. The initiative to connect parked aircraft to more efficient external electricity is significantly reducing their pilots’ use of the onboard auxiliary power unit, or APU, which burns jet fuel to keep lights, avionics systems, air conditioning and other equipment on. The goal is to reduce Hawaiian’s APU usage by an estimated 30 minutes per flight, saving some 620,000 gallons of fuel annually and cutting CO2 emissions by 5,933 metric tons.

In addition, Hawaiian’s new fleet of A321neos is the quietest and most fuel-efficient aircraft in its class, leading to a 16 percent lower fuel burn and carbon emissions from its older planes. And the airline goes beyond its operations in helping the environment. Hawaiian Airlines has partnered with Raw Elements USA, a certified-natural, chemical-free, reef-safe sun-care company. The airlines airs an educational (and entertaining) in-flight video, Reefs at Risk, to educate guests on the impact of sunscreen on Hawaii’s coral reefs and offers a discounted in-flight price for the sunscreen.

Hawaiian Airlines has accomplished all this while providing amazing service. The airline marks 15 years as having the most on-time arrivals of any U.S. airline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Travelers also love the in-flight experience and rave about the delicious Mai Tai cocktails and actual meals served—even in coach (plus a midnight snack)!

If you are lucky enough to fly in First Class (there is no business class), you can expect a super comfy lie-flat bed, a personal iPad for movies, and some truly inspired meals. A recent sample included vegetarian spring rolls, braised miso beef and mango pies from the Hawaiian Pie company.

The air team is committed to both superior service and sustainability. During the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, over 200 crew members sailed on the Hōkūle‘a and its sister canoe Hikianalia using Polynesian wayfinding navigation as they engage communities with the goal of inspiring action to care for the earth.

You can now feel even better about visiting one of the most beautiful places in the world.  

 

I focus on family travel and love sharing the thrill of travel with my twin sons. We have hiked in Iceland, bonded with giraffes in South Africa and star gazed in the At...