Our Decarbonization Pathway
To achieve net-zero by 2050, meaningful GHG emissions intensity improvement by 2035 and our non-climate sustainability goals, we will need to use all levers commercially and economically available to us now and in the future. Our path focuses on two main pillars:
path to net-zero
Eliminate Our Climate Impact From Flying
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in our control today
Embed Sustainability in Everything We Do

Eliminate Our Climate Impact From Flying:

Our fleet renewal efforts have the most significant impact on reducing emissions and emissions intensity from our airline operations. In 2022, we took delivery of 69 aircraft that were, on average, 25% more fuel efficient per seat mile than aircraft retired since 2019, contributing to a fleet-wide fuel efficiency improvement of 4.2% compared to 2019. We also announced a series of new aircraft purchase agreements. We expect these purchase agreements to bolster our fleet renewal plans and continue to improve fuel efficiency in future periods.
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is central to reducing the life cycle emissions from aviation fuel; however, it is not currently available at the scale or cost necessary to meet the industry’s needs. We have established a goal of replacing 10% of our jet fuel consumption with SAF by the end of 2030. We expect this goal to require at least 400 million gallons of SAF annually. At the end of 2022, Delta had agreements in place with multiple suppliers for an aggregate offtake of 200 million gallons of SAF annually by 2030. These agreements are subject to third-party investment and timely facility development.
To further reduce our emissions intensity, our Carbon Council, a cross-divisional senior leadership team, is focused on executing and tracking operational initiatives that reduce jet fuel consumption. This work includes immediate improvements within flight operations and collaboration with outside experts such as MIT to evaluate new technologies. Delta’s efforts also supplement industry-wide efforts to support the modernization of the air traffic control systems, allowing for increased fuel efficiency and less carbon-intensive flying.

Embed Sustainability in Everything We Do:

We are accelerating our efforts to build a more sustainable travel experience by reducing single-use plastics on board, reducing food waste and introducing sustainability in the products and amenities we deliver to our customers. We refreshed our onboard product offerings in early 2022, and as a result of our initial single-use plastic replacement strategy, we reduced onboard single-use plastic consumption by approximately 4.9 million pounds per year.
As of December 2022, we electrified 25% of our eligible core and critical ground equipment fleets necessary to service an aircraft at the gate, such as baggage tractors, belt loaders, aircraft tow tractors and other eligible GSE. We continue to work with airports throughout our network to add additional charging infrastructure to support our goal of electrifying 50% of our eligible GSE fleet by 2025. Additionally, we invested in updating airport facilities, modernizing the customer experience, and creating more sustainable facilities by incorporating technology to reduce our environmental impact.
In 2022, we onboarded over 50% of our top 200 supply chain vendors, based on spend, to the EcoVadis ESG ratings platform. EcoVadis scorecards allow us to measure the impact of our supply chain, encourage vendors to take action to improve their scores and identify potential new vendors with strong sustainability ratings.

Decarbonizing Aviation

We expect progress toward our climate goals, particularly our decarbonization efforts, to be driven by the following levers: fleet renewal, sustainable aviation fuel and operational improvements. Technological innovation concerning these levers, stakeholder engagement and coalition and policy development will be critical to reaching our goals. We mention our cross-collaboration and partnerships in this section, and our climate lobbying efforts are detailed later in this digital report.
The graphic model illustrates one potential pathway to achieve net-zero by 2050. This pathway is a proposal subject to numerous assumptions and uncertainties, many of which are outside our control. As illustrated by these graphics, even with meaningful improvements in fuel efficiency, our absolute emissions are expected to grow for a period of time due to projected capacity growth in future years. We aim to achieve absolute emission reductions over the medium- to long-term as we move toward 2050 and more low-carbon technologies become commercially and economically available.
Delta’s path to net-zero 2050
Share of carbon footprint abated by solution (v. 2019 baseline) tCO2e