Air Canada's Environmental Initiatives

  • New fuel efficient aircraft
    The newest Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR aircraft, 17 of which Air Canada recently introduced as part of its long haul fleet renewal program, are 22 per cent more fuel efficient per seat than the aircraft they have replaced. Air Canada is the first North American carrier to operate this latest generation, fuel-efficient aircraft. The airline has also renewed its North American fleet with 60 new Embraer aircraft. Air Canada operates the youngest, most fuel-efficient fleet of any North American network carrier, with an average aircraft age of only 8.8 years.

  • More efficient flying
    To reduce fuel burn and emissions, Air Canada Flight Operations has implemented a number of procedures that result in the reduction of approximately 44,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, representing annual savings of approximately C$44 million. The procedures include: taxiing on the ground with only one engine running whenever possible, optimizing flight paths, optimizing speed, reducing weight, reducing drag, and minimum use of reverse thrust from engines when landing.

  • Engine washing
    Air Canada's engine washing program, which has been in place for its entire North American narrow body fleet since 2000, improves engine performance and lessens the engine's environmental impact by ensuring engines don't overheat. Twice yearly engine washing adds between 25-30 per cent longer engine life and means engines burn about one per cent less fuel. The program saves Air Canada about C$34.4 million annually, or C$206,400 per engine for its 172 Airbus engines.

  • Lighter Cargo containers
    Air Canada has replaced approximately 2,000 cargo containers with ultra light weight Kevlar unit load devices (ULD's), each weighing 20 to 23 kg less than conventional containers. This is expected to reduce Air Canada's fuel burn by 2.8 million kilos annually resulting in a reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 9,000 metric tonnes per year.

  • Improved fleet and operational efficiencies
    Air Canada's combined fleet and operational efficiencies contributed savings of approximately 101 million litres in fuel in 2008. This represented an avoidance in CO2 emissions of 260,000 tonnes, the equivalent to taking 65,434 cars off the road for a year. The airline has long championed fuel efficiency practices. Since 1990, Air Canada has improved aircraft fuel efficiency by 28 per cent.

  • Alternative Energy
    Air Canada's ground handling fleet includes close to 500 electrically-powered baggage carts, forklifts, belt loaders and other ground support equipment, as well as more than 400 propane-powered vehicles such as trucks and tugs. Use of propane rather than diesel or gasoline results in a 33 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative energy use at Vancouver and Calgary airports alone resulted in annual fuel savings of approximately C$640,000 in 2008.

  • Responsible de-icing
    Each year, Air Canada recovers and recycles approximately 46 million litres on average of glycol used for de-icing at 10 airports across Canada. (56 million litres were recovered in 2007-8, and 36 million litres in the 2008-9 winter season.) Recovered de-icing fluid is processed so that the recycled product can either be re-used in deicing operations or sold for use in other industries, for example for conversion to automobile windshield washer fluid.

  • Recycling and reducing waste
    Air Canada purchases recycled products whenever possible and sends its waste for recycling. This includes newspapers and aluminum cans collected on board since 2006, and for the past ten years old issues of its in-flight Magazine, enRoute, duty free brochures, old safety features cards, cardboard boxes from delivery of commissary, newspapers, paper and soda cans from office buildings. To further reduce waste, in 2008 Air Canada introduced the sale of high quality single-prong earphones on board. Customers are encouraged to bring their own and plug in, or to reuse the earphones they buy on board.

  • Carbon offsetting program
    Air Canada offers customers and corporate clients an effective carbon footprint management tool in partnership with the non-profit organization, Zerofootprint. Since the program's launch in May 2007, the program has contributed nearly C$200,000 to plant trees in Maple Ridge, B.C., offsetting approximately 12,000 tonnes of C02, the equivalent of taking almost 3000 cars off the road for one year.