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Press Release

United Airlines Achieves Top Honor as Eco-Aviation 'Airline of the Year' Gold Winner

Air Transport World awards United highest recognition for its leadership in environmental action

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Aug. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today was named the Eco-Aviation "Airline of the Year" Gold Winner by Air Transport World (ATW) magazine, the top award granted by ATW in its annual Eco-Aviation Awards. The "Eco-Airline of the Year" award recognizes an airline in global commercial aviation for its eco-aviation leadership as demonstrated by consistent and impactful environmental action within the company and in the industry. United was awarded for making its environment policies a priority, actively engaging in climate change and biofuels working groups and initiatives, and for its dedication to a broad set of activities that improve both the airline's efficiency and the environment in which it operates.

"This is a great honor for United and I'm proud of the work that my co-workers do every day to be responsible stewards for the environment," said Jeff Smisek, chairman, president and chief executive officer of United Airlines. "Our initiatives are paying off as we reduce United's environmental footprint and work together toward a sustainable future for our company and our industry."

United's Eco-Skies program maintains the company's commitment to the environment and includes actions taken every day to create a sustainable future. United's recent environmental achievements include:


  • United has more than 290 fuel-efficient aircraft on order and was the U.S. launch customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which represents a significant advancement in aircraft innovation and achieves a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency versus the aircraft it is replacing. United recently increased its Dreamliner order to 65, and the airline will be the launch customer for the Boeing 787-10, a stretched version of the 787 that will offer the lowest fuel burn per seat of any aircraft of its size. The airline also has 35 Airbus A350-1000s on order which will consume approximately 20 percent less fuel per seat than the widebody aircraft it will replace.
  • United has installed fuel-saving winglets on more than 330 mainline aircraft, and was also the launch partner for the new Split Scimitar Winglet, which will reduce CO2 emissions by 600 tons per aircraft per year and improve fuel efficiency by approximately 2 percent.

Fuel Efficiency

  • United is on track to meet its 2013 goal to reduce fuel usage by 85 million gallons and associated carbon emissions by 828,750 metric tons.
  • Last year, the company saved 83 million gallons of fuel due to fleet replacement and fuel-efficiency initiatives, reducing carbon emissions by 811,000 metric tons.

Advancing Alternative Aviation Fuels

  • In June 2013, United announced an historic partnership with AltAir Fuels with an agreement to purchase 15 million gallons of commercial-scale and cost-competitive advanced aviation biofuels for flights out of the airline's Los Angeles hub as early as 2014.
  • United spearheaded the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuel Initiative (MASBI) – a public/private collaboration of more than 40 nationally recognized organizations focused on accelerating the commercialization of advanced biofuels for aviation (2012).
  • United achieved several milestones with biofuels:
    • First U.S. commercial flight powered by advanced biofuel (2011).
    • First North American commercial airline to operate a demonstration flight using synthetic fuel made from natural gas (2010).
    • First North American carrier to perform a two-engine aircraft flight demonstration using sustainable biofuels (2009).

Facility and Product Stewardship

  • Since 2008, United has recycled more than 23.5 million pounds of aluminum cans, paper and plastic items from waste generated inflight and at its facilities.
  • United incorporated energy efficiency features in the design and construction of the new Terminal B at its Houston hub.
  • The airline designed its United Clubs to incorporate many sustainable design elements including LED lighting, low-flow toilets and lavatories, porcelain tiling and sustainable fabrics and fixtures.
  • United's new Data Center currently under construction is designed to achieve approximately 50 percent energy savings.
  • United's headquarters offices in Chicago achieved Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.
  • United's new Cargo facility at its Chicago hub has a vegetative green roof and is currently the sixth largest green roof in North America.

Supplier and Customer Engagement

  • United launched the Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) initiative to better understand the environmental performance of its suppliers and deepen relationships with its key supply chain partners (2013).
  • United's enhanced carbon offset program allows its customers to calculate and offset the carbon footprint associated with their air travel and cargo shipments and direct their support to three certified projects near communities that United serves.

Community Investments

  • The United Eco-Skies Community Grants program awards $50,000 to 10 non-profits located in its hub communities, such as the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation, to promote engagement and volunteerism.
  • United supports and partners with hub-based environmental organizations as well as national and international organizations such as Conservation International and Sustainable Travel International.

For more information on United's commitment to the environment, visit

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,341 flights a day to more than 360 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. According to the 4th annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey published by IdeaWorksCompany in May 2013, United has the most saver-style award-seat availability among the largest U.S. global airlines. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 195 countries via 28 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.


SOURCE United Airlines

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