American Airlines

RATING

SECTOR

Transportation

WEBSITE

CONTACT

P.O. Box 619616
DFW Airport
TX 75261-9616
United States

Phone: 817-963-123

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

  • 2020 U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership Fortune 500® Partners List – #43
  • #5 in Best Airline Rewards Programs by U.S. New

EMPLOYEES

133,700

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Callie Choat

AWARDS

2020

2019

2019 American Airlines also takes top honor as Favorite International Airline and Favorite Airline Website site by millennials at Trazee Travel awards

2018

  • 2018 Best Airline in North America
  • 2018 Best Airline for Domestic First Class (third consecutive year)
  • 2018 Best Airline website (second consecutive year)
  • 2018 Best Frequent Flyer Customer Service for AAdvantage®
  • 2018 Best Airline App
  • 2018 Fastest-Growing Airline – trans-Pacific (second consecutive year)
  • 2018 Best Frequent-Flyer Affinity Credit Card Promotions – Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard (fifth consecutive year)
  • 2018 Best Frequent-Flyer Affinity Credit Card Benefits – Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Kavita Kripalani

American Airlines

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

American Airlines Group, Inc. (AA) is a holding company, which engages in the operation of a network carrier through its principal wholly-owned mainline operating subsidiary, American. The firm offers air transportation for passengers and cargo

It operates through the following geographical segments: Department of Transportation Domestic; Department of Transportation Latin America; Department of Transportation Atlantic; and Department of Transportation Pacific. 

The company was founded on December 9, 2013, and is headquartered in Fort Worth, TX.

Company Sustainability Activity

American Airlines is committed to providing regular and transparent information about their strategies and performance on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues that are most important to their company and their stakeholders.

They have produced an annual Corporate Responsibility Report since 2007, but this year’s report marks a new phase in the evolution of their reporting. They seek to adhere to best practices for ESG disclosure, so for the first time, they are aligning their report with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the standard for the airline industry developed by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

The AA views both of these reporting frameworks as important indicators of the ESG issues that investors and others consider most material. To reflect their updated reporting strategy, they are adopting the title ESG Report going forward. The AA intends to continue providing its stakeholders with information on their ESG performance annually.

In this 2019–2020 ESG Report, they include a discussion of American’s approach to managing their most material ESG issues, along with highlights of their progress and performance in 2019 and, where relevant, into 2020. Unless noted otherwise, performance data is as of December 31, 2019.

 

Highlights

Environmental Management

  • In 2019, American became the first major U.S. carrier to begin the process of seeking certification for their environmental management system under the International Air Transport Association’s Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) program, which assesses airline performance against sustainability standards for air quality and emissions, noise, fuel consumption, recycling and sustainable procurement. Airlines certified under IEnvA standards will also be ISO 14001 certified.

Green Building

  • They are integrating green building principles – such as energy efficiency, water conservation and sustainable materials – into their new and renovated facilities. They have multiple LEED Gold- and Silver-certified facilities across the United States; most recently, they opened two new LEED Gold-certified buildings – called Skyview 7 and 8 – at their corporate headquarters campus in Fort Worth in 2019. The buildings’ sustainable design features include the use of materials that meet stringent requirements for low or no volatile organic compounds, preferred parking for zero- and low-emitting vehicles and a 97% diversion of construction waste to landfills. Skyview also boasts a 41% reduction in water use compared with standard practices through its high-efficiency water fixtures and other features. The new campus replaced 21 acres of formerly concrete surfaces with water-efficient landscaping, which included planting 3,000 trees.

Aircraft Noise

  • They recognize and are committed to addressing the ongoing concerns of local communities regarding aircraft noise. Their fleet of mainline aircraft is the youngest among U.S. network carriers, and these nether aircraft are up to 50% quieter than the aircraft they replaced. They are proud of the fact that their entire mainline and regional fleet of aircraft meets ICAO Chapter 4 noise certification standards. American continues their work with airports, communities and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to find reasonable solutions.

Renewable Energy

  • They have set a goal to source 2.5 million GJ of cost-competitive renewable energy to power their operations by 2025 – the equivalent of nearly 20 million gallons of jet fuel. In 2019, they sourced nearly 200,000 GJ through the purchase of electricity from renewable sources for their headquarters facilities and operations at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which are 100% powered by renewable energy. As of April 2020, American was the highest-ranked transportation company – and among the top 50 companies overall – in the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership Fortune 500® Partners List.

Energy Efficiency

  • They are taking steps across all of their facilities to make them more energy-efficient. For example, they are re-lighting their 13 hangar facilities with high-efficiency LED lights, which use only 20% of the electricity of the lights they replace. In 2019, they completed the re-lighting of their maintenance facility in Pittsburgh – bringing to five the number of hangar facilities where they’ve made the switch to 100% LED – and they are well on their way to completing the effort at the remaining ones.

Waste Reduction and Recycling

  • They have a variety of efforts aimed at reducing waste and increasing recycling onboard their aircraft and within their facilities. On average, American recycles about 340,000 pounds of aluminum cans annually through their flight services. And they have changed their processes and materials – including by switching from plastic to bamboo stir sticks – to eliminate thousands of pounds of unnecessary plastic in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they adjusted their onboard meal service to protect the health and safety of their passengers and team members. Some of these adjustments, such as providing bottles of water rather than refilling cups to minimize contact, present challenges to advancing their waste and recycling goals. As soon as it’s safe to do so, they will ramp up and launch a range of planned new efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle across their operations

Targets

Customer Satisfaction and Operational Performance

2019 & 2020 Goals 

  • Improve the Likelihood to Recommend scores 
  • Achieve improved systemwide operational metrics, including on-time performance percentage, completion factor percentage and mishandled baggage rate

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

2020 Goals 

  • Listen more intentionally to team member concerns and address those concerns in their learning, development, advancement and recruitment programs and processes
  • Provide additional learning opportunities beyond implicit bias to deepen awareness of diversity and inclusion issues 
  • Launch an external Community Council composed of executives and a cross-section of Black community leaders to provide feedback on company initiatives

Safety Management

2019 & 2020 Goals 

  • Maintain the highest passenger safety standards, with zero serious customer injuries 
  • Reduce on-the-job team member injuries 
  • Reduce aircraft ground damage

Team Member and Labor Relations

  • 2020 Goal: Support their team members with emotional, physical and financial wellbeing resources

Climate

  • Achieve net-zero direct carbon emissions by 2050 
  • Source 2.5 million gigajoules (GJ) of renewable energy by 2025  (the equivalent of nearly 20 million gallons of jet fuel)
  • Attain a 1.5% improvement in average fuel efficiency from 2014 through 2020, or 9% cumulatively over the six years

Customers

  • Improve system-wide metrics for: on-time performance; flight completion; baggage handling
  • Improve the Likelihood to Recommend scores

Progress

Climate Change and Fuel Efficiency (2019 Performance)

  • Achieved a 0.1% efficiency improvement in 2019, for a 5.3% cumulative improvement during the first five years of the six-year goal 
  • Sourced nearly 200,000 GJs of renewable energy in 2019. Contracted with Neste to purchase 9 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel over the next three years, which should provide more than 1.1 million GJs of renewable energy.

Customer Satisfaction and Operational Performance (2019 Performance)

  • Likelihood to Recommend score dropped fractionally in 2019, largely due to an illegal maintenance disruption undertaken by a union during collective bargaining negotiations 
  • On-time performance and completion factor metrics improved fractionally in 2019; after a challenging first half of 2019, the baggage metric steadily improved in the third and fourth quarters

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (2019 Performance)

  • Delivered implicit bias training to more than 100,000 team members

Safety Management (2019 Performance)

  • Experienced zero serious customer injuries
  • Reduced team member injury rate by 5.8% in regional operations; saw rate increase by 3.9% in mainline operations
  • Saw regional aircraft damage rates increase 4.3% and mainline damage rates increase 16.3%

Team Member and Labor Relations (2019 Performance)

  • In the first quarter of 2020, reached an agreement with the TWU–IAM for a new, five-year contract for their maintenance and fleet service team members 
  • Successfully launched new uniforms with highest levels of safety, comfort and durability

Certificates

  • ISO 14001 – American Airlines became the first major U.S. carrier to begin the process of seeking certification for its environmental management system under the International Air Transport Association’s Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) program, which assesses airline performance against sustainability standards for air quality and emissions, noise, fuel consumption, recycling and sustainable procurement. Airlines certified under IEnvA standards will also be ISO 14001 certified.
  • LEED – multiple LEED Gold- and Silver-certified facilities across the United States; most recently, they opened two new LEED Gold-certified buildings – called Skyview 7 and 8 – at their corporate headquarters campus in Fort Worth in 2019.
 

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations SDGs Compliance

*The following section aligns current company-wide sustainability initiatives with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Although not explicitly stated, American Airlines has attempted to be compliant with SDGs.

SDG 3

Travel with Confidence

  • COVID-19 has forced them to rethink how they deliver their services, to keep customers and team members healthy and to provide peace of mind during air travel. Throughout the pandemic, they have worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a range of outside experts to understand the latest developments and determine the adaptations necessary for their operations. In June 2020, they announced a new Travel Health Advisory Panel, which is providing them with advice and guidance on disease prevention, cleaning procedures and other public health matters. This panel complements their internal COVID-19 working group of experts from across their business, including their medical director; this group meets regularly to review the latest guidance from health officials and coordinate their response.
  • The high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system onboard their entire mainline fleet – and most regional jets – provides a complete air change every two to four minutes. HEPA technology is similar to the standards for hospitals, helping keep environments clear of bacteria and viruses while providing clean air.
  • They have put in place a multi-layered and ever-evolving approach to protect the health of customers and team members, including: requiring face coverings for customers throughout their entire journey – and denying boarding or future travel for customers who refuse to comply; making the wearing of a face-covering an essential function of their team members’ jobs, requiring them while at work; enhancing cleaning procedures on their aircraft, in their airports and at their facilities; installing plexiglass shields at ticket counters and boarding gates; deploying touchless check-in at airports, including printing baggage tags at kiosks; modifying onboard food and beverage service to minimize contact; offering pre-flight COVID-19 testing for customers traveling to international destinations, starting with Jamaica and the Bahamas, with plans to expand the program to additional markets. 

Their Clean Commitment

  • The American Airlines Clean Commitment is a promise that they’re taking bold measures and using the latest products and technology to help ensure the well-being of their customers when they travel with them and the well-being of their team members as they provide this service. They have expanded their already comprehensive efforts to clean their aircraft and airports, enhancing procedures on all flights and developing new disinfection protocols for catering equipment and supplies.
  • In late August, they became the first airline to announce plans to upgrade to SurfaceWise2, a breakthrough electrostatic spraying solution from Allied BioScience. The SurfaceWise2 solution is the first long-lasting product approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help fight the spread of COVID-19. SurfaceWise2 creates an invisible barrier on surfaces, which physically breaks down and kills virus cells, helping to protect passengers and team members against COVID-19 transmission via surfaces, particularly on high-touch areas such as seats, armrests, tray tables and overhead bin doors.
  • They are the first airline to begin working with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) for STAR accreditation for their fleet and customer lounges. GBAC STAR accreditation demonstrates that proper cleaning and disinfection practices, procedures and systems are in place to prepare for, respond to and recover from pandemics. They expect to receive full accreditation by the end of 2020 for their entire fleet and all lounges. GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. The combination of required face coverings, thorough cleaning protocols, HEPA filters and the use of SurfaceWise2 will help make the travel experience even safer for team members and customers who are ready to return to the skies

Taking Care of Their Team Members

  • To take good care of their customers, they must take good care of their team. The extensive safety measures they have enacted in response to COVID-19 are designed to protect customers and team members.
  • All team members must wear face coverings when indoors and on aircraft. Face coverings are also required when working outdoors, except in extreme heat.
  • To help ensure a safe work environment for everyone, mainline team members are required to complete a short self-declaration called “Well for Work” at least every 31 days. This self-declaration is designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by asking team members to monitor their health daily for any new, unusual or worsening COVID-19 symptoms and to take appropriate safety precautions when necessary. And at many of their locations, they’re checking team members’ temperatures when they enter their work location. Those who record a temperature above the limit set by the CDC or applicable government order are sent home. They’ve also made COVID-19 testing more accessible for team members.
  • Team members are eligible for two weeks of paid leave if they are awaiting test results, have received a confirmed diagnosis, or have been ordered quarantined by a physician or public health official because of exposure.
  • They also have been offering voluntary and extended leave options for team members who do not feel comfortable going to work or who need the flexibility to care for children or other family members. All of their voluntary leave programs come with continued health benefits and continued company match to 401(k) and other contractual pension programs. As they adjust their business to the lower demand levels for air travel in a pandemic, they are doing everything they can to support their team members whose positions have been cut.

Supporting Their Communities

  • When COVID-19 struck, American quickly mobilized to address critical needs in communities across their nation that they are affected by the pandemic. To ensure the world’s goods continued to get where they needed to go, they used aircraft otherwise grounded to fly cargo flights carrying life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, as well as fresh produce, electronics and manufacturing parts, to keep the global supply chain moving. As of September 2020, they had operated 2,500 cargo-only flights to transport these critical goods and supplies around the globe.
  • As of August 2020, they had contributed more than 1 million pounds of food from their inventory to food banks across the country – the result of excess supplies given their reduced flying schedule. they provided thousands of care packages to military bases for troops quarantined after returning from deployment and donated supply kits to hospitals in major U.S. cities. In cooperation with their generous customers, they raised more than $3 million to support the American Red Cross and its volunteers. And, team members at multiple locations sewed masks for their coworkers and members of the community.

SDG 4

  • In 2020, they teamed up with New Friends New Life (NFNL), a Dallas based organization working to restore and empower formerly trafficked teenage girls and sexually exploited women and their children. Texas ranks second in the country for trafficking prevalence, with more than 300,000 victims annually statewide. By providing access to education, job training, financial assistance, mental health and spiritual support, NFNL helps women and their children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty and limited opportunities.
  • In the first months of the partnership, NFNL held training sessions for more than 100 American team members at their headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, and another 120 at Miami International Airport. Their legal team is also providing pro bono services to NFNL, such as helping the organization’s clients expunge criminal records resulting from their time being trafficked.
  • American is a partner member of Texas Businesses Against Trafficking, a public-private awareness and prevention initiative led by the Texas Secretary of State.

SDG 5

Fighting for LGBTQ Inclusion and Equality

  • American has been a long-time leader and ally in the struggle for equal rights and protections for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) team members, customers and community members. They offer medical coverage to same-sex domestic partners and provide benefits for gender reassignment coverage. And they are the first major U.S. airline to protect LGBTQ team members by including gender identity and sexual orientation in workplace non-discrimination policies.
  • In 2019, they joined an amicus brief supporting LGBTQ workplace protections under the Civil Rights Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2020. And in 2020, they joined an amicus brief supporting the application of non-discrimination laws in the public sphere to protect the rights of same-sex couples, in Fulton vs. The City of Philadelphia. they also have been advocating for the passage of hate crime laws in states where they conduct business.
  • While federal laws exist to penalize hate crimes, they believe every state should affirm that crimes committed as acts of hate have no place in any community in their country. American supported the successful effort to enact a hate crimes law in Georgia, and they have joined with other companies to urge the states of South Carolina and Wyoming to pass similar legislation.
  • In late 2019, they began offering a nonbinary gender option during the booking process. To implement that enhancement, they are training team members to help raise awareness and sensitivity about issues facing their nonbinary colleagues and customers. The training offers tips and potential language alternatives, such as using “they/them” or names in place of gendered pronouns.

SDG 7

  • Over the past several years, they have expanded use of renewable energy to power their administrative, ground and support operations. While emissions associated with the purchase of electricity to run their operations comprise the smallest portion of their carbon footprint, switching to renewable energy provides an immediate opportunity to reduce their GHG emissions. They have focused their renewable energy efforts on their primary facilities in North Texas, where they have their largest airport operation, and their Fort Worth campus, which includes their integrated operations center, the majority of their training facilities, a large call center and their principal offices. The electricity used on their campus and at their Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport terminals and facilities is from renewable sources. As of April 2020, American was the highest-ranked transportation company – and among the top 50 companies overall – on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Power Partnership Fortune 500® Partners List
  • They have also undertaken a range of other initiatives to make their new and existing facilities more energy-efficient and sustainable
  • Accelerating the commercial availability and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – which can reduce lifecycle GHG emissions by up to 80% compared with conventional jet fuel – is another critical part of its long-term carbon-reduction pathway. They have committed to purchase 9 million gallons of SAF over three years and, in parallel, are working to make its operations more fuel-efficient. SAF is jet fuel produced from renewable hydrocarbon resources, including both biological and non-biological resources. SAF can be produced from a range of feedstocks, including municipal solid waste, used cooking oil, plant oils, waste gases and agricultural residues. SAF is certified as Jet-A1 fuel, which means it meets the same performance standards as conventional jet fuel and can be used without technical modifications to aircraft.
  • In early 2020, they committed to purchase 9 million gallons of SAF over three years from Neste, a leading producer of renewable products. This SAF will be certified through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification scheme. they began to take delivery of Neste SAF at San Francisco International Airport in July 2020. This commitment contributes to their goal of sourcing 2.5 million GJ of cost-competitive renewable energy by 2025. When announced, their agreement with Neste was the largest single SAF purchasing commitment in their industry, but it still represents considerably less than 1% of their total annual fuel consumption. Bringing the SAF market to scale will require the combined efforts of the private sector and effective policies from governments at all levels. By committing to this initial order from Neste, they aim to help facilitate more widespread production of SAF and accelerate its commercial viability

SDG 8

    • Labor Relations American respects their team members’ rights to free association and collective bargaining, and they strive to work collaboratively with their union partners to negotiate industry-leading contracts. Approximately 85% of their workforce is represented by labor unions – the highest percentage of represented workers of any U.S. airline. Since 2005, they have completed more than 30 collective bargaining agreements, significantly more than any other airline. Their goal is to offer industry-leading total compensation and benefits packages, including profit sharing, to all of their team members. Following the merger of American and US Airways in 2013, they completed joint collective bargaining agreements combining their workforces in a record period of time, with the exception of one agreement. These agreements increased the average pay for their represented team members by 63%.
    • In the first quarter of 2020, they reached an agreement with the Transport Workers Union–International Association of Machinists (TWU–IAM) Association on a new, five-year contract for their maintenance and fleet service team members.
    • During the COVID-19 crisis, they have worked with their union leaders to develop voluntary leave and early out programs to prioritize the most immediate needs of their team members. They also continue to work in partnership with their unions to protect jobs and the important role their industry will play in the recovery from the pandemic.

SDG 10 

Human Rights

  • Respect for human rights is embedded in all aspects of their business and in all geographies where they operate. Their core values include integrity, respect for the individual and the unique customs and cultures in the communities where they operate, respect for human rights as embodied in the principles of the United Nations (U.N.) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and compliance with the law. Although governments are primarily responsible for safeguarding human rights, they endeavor to conduct their business in a socially responsible and ethical manner consistent with human rights principles. Their approach to human rights is guided by international standards. They respect and support the U.N.’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the core Conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Their American Airlines Human Rights Statement, which was formally approved by their Board of Directors in 2020, applies to all team members and contractors, employees of their wholly-owned subsidiaries, and their suppliers and other business relationships.
  • For many years, they addressed expectations about their commitment to human rights in their Standards of Business Conduct for team members and suppliers; in 2020 they strengthened those expectations by aligning them formally with global standards, such as the U.N.’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They continuously evaluate their operations and value chain to identify, assess and address human rights risks and to engage key stakeholders.
  • Statement complements their annual team member training on the Standards of Business Conduct. They also provide a dedicated 24/7 hotline for team members, suppliers and partners to anonymously report human rights concerns. They do not tolerate any retribution or retaliation taken against any individual who has, in good faith, sought advice or reported questionable behavior or a possible violation. Their full Human Rights Statement can be found on their website.

Combating Human Trafficking

  • American is committed to combating human trafficking and child exploitation. As a prominent participant in the worldwide travel industry, they can help fight these terrible crimes. Through training, they empower their team members to follow their instincts and take care of customers who may find themselves in unsafe or dangerous situations. They have mandatory human trafficking awareness training for their frontline, customer-facing team members, including flight attendants, pilots and airport customer service representatives, as well as for team members with international purchasing responsibilities. This training is required for new employees and as part of their recurrent training programs. They know that vigilance is key in fighting the scourge of human trafficking, and they stand ready to help. Ending human trafficking requires a coordinated approach, and they seek partners to amplify their efforts. In January 2020, they joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, a national public awareness effort that aims to educate the public, law enforcement and industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking. they also are a signatory to ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, a voluntary set of business principles to prevent child sex tourism and the trafficking of children.

SDG 13

  • The global airline industry contributes about 2% of all human-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and the transport industry’s share of global emissions is projected to rise. The airline industry is one of the few sectors that has established global CO2 emissions goals, which include an average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020, carbon-neutral growth after 2020 and a 50% reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 2050. To achieve these important industry goals, American adopted two environmental sustainability targets for their operations: attain an average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2014 (the first full year after they merged with US Airways) through 2020, and source 2.5 GJ of renewable energy by 2025
  • Along with others in the airline industry, they are subject to the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which aims to achieve carbon-neutral growth in CO2 emissions from international aviation after 2020. Adopted by the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2016 and currently being implemented by the United States and countries around the world, CORSIA is the first global carbon pricing mechanism covering an entire sector. They have added a consumer-facing carbon offset option on their website and are exploring other opportunities to provide low-carbon offerings to its customers.
  • American supports their industry’s goals – but they believe the scale of the climate challenge, and the science behind it, demands that they increase the scale of their company’s ambitions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As one of the world’s largest airlines, they know they need to be a leader in helping to drive the operational, policy and technological changes needed to reduce CO2 emissions from air travel to try to limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius, which is the limit advised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to avoid the most damaging and irreversible impacts of climate change.
  • Their fleet renewal effort will have the greatest near-term impact on emissions, since each new generation of aircraft targets fuel-efficiency improvements of 10–15%, though there are factors beyond the aircraft itself that affect fuel efficiency
  • Over the long term, they expect to rely on future technologies, including new engine and aircraft technology, air traffic control reform and sustainable aviation fuels, to achieve their goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Alongside fleet renewal efforts, they are investing in new technology to help their aircraft operate more efficiently. For example, in 2020 they began deploying specialized software that uses real-time weather conditions to provide their flight crews with better data about optimal flight altitudes and speeds. This can save fuel and reduce emissions, particularly on long-haul flights. By mid-2020, they are using this technology on 85% of their mainline aircraft.
  • They are also reducing jet fuel consumption pre- and post-flight. This on-the-ground fuel use represents approximately 6% of their total jet fuel consumption. For example, they are reducing the use of onboard auxiliary power units (APUs) during flight preparation by connecting to ground power at the airport terminal, rather than relying on jet fuel to heat or cool the aircraft, operate onboard lighting and run other functions while the aircraft is parked at the gate. This simple change in operational behavior provides a substantial opportunity to decrease both costs and emissions since electric power is less carbon intensive. They estimate that by reducing the time an APU is run by just one minute on every flight, an aircraft can save 1,000 gallons or more of jet fuel annually.
  • As part of their climate strategy, they are purchasing low-emission GSE vehicles and working to transition from diesel- or gasoline-powered GSE to electric GSE. In 2019, they added more than 50 electric-powered vehicles to their GSE fleet.
 

Evaluation

In the company’s ESG report, they have implicitly aligned with UN SDGs in a legitimate attempt. They have decent certificates, awards and listings, as well as a clear sustainable agenda. The airline company produces a report with targets and goals for offsetting their CO2 emissions, pursuing fuel alternatives, using renewable energy, and protecting human rights in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The company has made some respectable efforts toward sustainability and has positioned itself well to make significant progress. However, some of their targets are not specific enough. Furthermore, air travel has a sizable impact on one’s carbon footprint, and with the sheer scale of American Airlines, this is a massive amount that needs to be offset. In this sense, the company still has a lot of work ahead. 

This company has been rated a C.

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

The company should adopt further targets in a specific manner, and track the exact metrics of their progress. They should also continue garnering more certificates and accolades to validate their efforts. By doing these things, the company is sure to accelerate its progress in being a more sustainable business.

 

Key Points

  • High fuel prices drive airline concern over the environment. Reducing carbon footprint can save money provided the technology is cost-effective. Though modern jets and the newest engines are far more efficient than ever, Flying still accounts for an estimated 2% of the world’s carbon emissions (though some critics suggest it’s as high as 5%).
  • Nearly all – 99% – of the GHG emissions from American’s direct operations result from burning jet fuel. So reducing consumption of petroleum-based jet fuel is the single best way they can reduce their carbon footprint. A variety of factors – from the aircraft they fly to where and how they fly them – affect their fuel use and associated Emissions.
  • They believe it is important for the company to play a constructive role in advancing policies that are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. That’s why they supported the Business Roundtable’s September 2020 update of its principles and policies addressing climate change. The update prioritizes the alignment of climate goals with scientific evidence, international engagement and support for investments in innovation.
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