Becoming a more sustainable airline on our journey to net-zero emissions by 2050 is both an imperative for the health of our planet and Delta’s long-term business success.
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is the most promising lever known today to accelerate progress toward a net zero future – it can use the existing fuel infrastructure to get it to airports, and is safe to use in current aircraft engines. The use of SAF has the ability to significantly reduce emissions by up to 80 percent, with the potential for net negative emissions in certain circumstances.
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough SAF today to fuel the world’s commercial airlines for even a single day, and it is currently 2 to 4 times more expensive than conventional jet fuel. In addition to investing in SAF for our own fleet, Delta is working to signal demand, attract investment and advocate for policy incentives to scale the market so all airlines can access more sustainable, affordable fuels.
Delta Global Sustainability and Fuel teams have been working over the past several years to catalyse investment and stimulate SAF production by signing what’s known as off-take agreements with various SAF producers. These agreements guarantee that Delta will purchase SAF from the producers when they have it, subject to certain conditions. To date, Delta has signed off-take agreements for more than 200 million gallons of SAF, which puts us half-way toward our goal of using 10 percent SAF for flying by 2030.
However, we know we cannot do this alone and we are actively building coalitions across the SAF value chain to demonstrate the capacity for building and scaling SAF.
In March 2023, Delta released its go-forward Sustainability Strategy, which outlines how the airline company is decarbonising its business across six core business areas: Ground Operations and Facilities, Clean Fuel, the Travel Experience, Supply Chain, Efficient Aircraft Operations, and Revolutionary Fleet.