Delta will invest $1 billion to become first carbon-neutral airline

Delta Air Lines Airbus A320

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"Our commitment to carbon neutrality means flying with Delta represents far more than a great travel experience - it's about joining arms to create a better world".

Yesterday, two days after oil major BP announced a strategic shift to go carbon neutral by 2050, Delta Air Lines launched its own campaign against carbon emissions.

Aviation accounts for about 2% of global carbon emissions, but those emissions are rising with the growth in air travel. "As we connect customers around the globe, it is our responsibility to deliver on our promise to bring people together and ensure the utmost care for our environment", said Bastian.

Airlines have taken small steps, including investments in alternative-fuel start-ups. Biofuels are in short supply and take years to develop, and there are no immediate prospects of newer jet engines that are more fuel-efficient than those now in the market.

However, revolutionary changes such as powering a large number of airline jets with electricity or biofuels are seen as years if not decades away.

Right now, Delta is more like the Hummer of the skies. Delta finished slightly ahead of American Airlines but behind Southwest and United. Call it covering your carbon footprint tracks.

"They deserve all the credit for our success, and we are proud to recognize their extraordinary work with a $1.6 billion payout-marking the sixth year in a row that Delta's profit-sharing has exceeded $1 billion". "We are digging deep into the issues, examining every corner of our business, engaging experts, building coalitions, fostering partnerships and driving innovation", Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a press release on Friday.

The company, which has made environmentally-conscious moves in the past, will still continue to rely on jet fuel.

Flight-shaming drew headlines previous year when Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist, sailed across the Atlantic instead of flying to speak at the United Nations.

And a year ago, easyJet made a similar claim that it was going to become the first airline in the world to offset all its carbon emissions.

Atlanta-based Delta is the world's largest airline by revenue. For 2019, it reported net income of almost $4.8 billion - an increase of 21% - on revenue of $47 billion.

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