Snowy mountain, trees and lake scenery with Delta aircraft flying overhead reflected in the lake
Climate and Environment

Our Path to Sustainability

Delta believes a key part of our mission to connect the world is helping to connect people to a more sustainable future of travel. Setting a bold vision and accelerating our work to deliver more sustainable travel experiences is not just good for communities and our planet – it’s also essential to positioning our business to thrive far into the future.

Addressing the challenges posed by climate change is of particular importance. The global aviation sector currently contributes 2–3% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and it is among the most difficult to decarbonize, which only strengthens our resolve to innovate and advance a new future of flight. To drive these efforts, we have set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions for our airline operations by 2050.

To that end, we are pursuing a long-term strategy to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions from flying – which represents the vast majority of our carbon footprint. In the near term, this involves continuing to transition to a more fuel-efficient fleet and enabling more efficient aircraft operations through innovation and collaboration. Over time, we will also work to replace an increasing share of our traditional jet fuel usage with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and partner with innovators to more radically revolutionize what and how we fly.

We also aim to reduce non-flight-related emissions and other environmental impacts. This includes building a more sustainable travel experience, such as by reducing waste and delivering more sustainable products and amenities for our customers. We are also working to reduce the impact of our ground operations and facilities and extending our climate and environmental ambitions to our supply chain.

Although we are proud of the progress we are making, we know we can’t do it alone. Many of the factors affecting the ability to reach our goals are outside of our control. Addressing these factors will require government policies and incentives, dedicated research and development, transformation of some of the world’s largest industries and significant capital allocation across the public and private sectors. As detailed in this section, we are actively building coalitions and advocating for policies and incentives that will help facilitate a net-zero future. Collaboration within – and beyond – our industry is essential, and we are committed to being a trusted partner to all who share our vision for the future of flight.

At Delta, we believe that what gets measured gets done, so our sustainability strategy embraces short-, medium- and long-term milestones to guide what we fly, how we fly and the fuel we use – all while supporting the elevated experiences Delta customers have come to expect.”

Amelia DeLuca Chief Sustainability Officer

Eliminate Our Climate Impact From Flying

  • EFFICIENT AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS

    Continually improving how we fly to maximize the efficiency of our existing fleet and operations

  • CLEANER FUEL1

    Addressing barriers to increase the availability and affordability of SAF

  • REVOLUTIONARY FLEET

    Improving fleet-wide fuel efficiency through ongoing renewal and working to reimagine what we fly in a net-zero world

Embed Sustainability in Everything We Do

  • THE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

    Reducing waste and delivering more sustainable products and amenities to our customers

  • GROUND OPERATIONS & FACILITIES

    Reducing climate impacts of ground service equipment, facilities and other operations

  • SUPPLY CHAIN

    Encouraging and supporting suppliers in pursuing their own net-zero and other environmental goals

  1. SAF is not emissions-free, but has lower lifecycle GHG emissions as compared to conventional jet fuel because it is made with renewable feedstocks.

Our Sustainability Targets

We are pursuing a range of targets on our path to sustainability, which are summarized in the infographic below. For more information about our plans and progress in each of these areas, see the applicable sections linked in the top Milestones row.

Delta is committed to transparency. We will continue to provide updates on our progress toward our targets, including disclosing successes as well as targets that require reevaluation or change, with opportunities to adapt based on dynamic conditions.

For example, we are currently in the process of reevaluating our targets on persistent contrails. The scientific understanding of contrails and their impacts is evolving. We set ambitious goals in March 2023 based on our understanding of contrails at the time. We continue to evaluate those targets and other sustainability goals based on evolving research and technology. That is why we have partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for Aviation and Environment – to support the furthering of technologies for forecasting regions of persistent contrail formation and assess the full impacts of in-flight mitigation solutions. For more information, see box on Eliminating Our Climate Impact From Flying page.

Milestones
2025
2030
2035
2050

Efficient Aircraft Operations

Read More
2025
1%

Fuel burn savings from operational improvements (45M gallons) 1

2035
3%

Operational fuel savings
(1.1B gallons cumulative) 1

2050
5%

Operational fuel savings 1

Cleaner Fuel

Read More
2030
10%

SAF Usage

2035
35%

SAF Usage

2050
95+%

SAF Usage

Revolutionary Fleet

Read More
2025
10+%

Fuel efficiency (FE) gains 1

5

Strategic partnerships with revolutionary technology players

2035
20+%

FE gains 1

1st

Operation of mainline revolutionary technology

2050
40+%

FE gains 1

25%

Revolutionary aircraft in fleet

Milestones
2025
2030
2035
2050

The travel experience

Read More
2025
Minimize

Single-use plastic onboard

2030
65%

Waste diversion from landfill 2

2050
100%

Waste diversion from landfill 2

Ground Operations and Facilities

Read More
2025
50%

Ground service equipment (GSE) electrification; 5 hubs at 100% of core 3 fleet

2035
100%

Of hubs’ GSE electrified; Renewable energy powering operations

2050
100%

Net-zero operations

Supply Chain

Read More
2025
100%

Of preferred vendors on carbon tracking system

2030
100%

Of preferred vendors with net-zero plans

2050
100%

Net-zero supply chain

  1. Compared to 2019.
  2. As it relates to customer onboard travel experience, excluding other aspects of aircraft operations.
  3. Core fleet consists of baggage tractors, belt loaders and aircraft tow tractors.